VIDEO: A song, laughter and clapping

Iraq, January 31, 2011

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A school isn't only a place of learning for a child, it's a place of security. It's a place to be among trusted friends and caring adults.

The stability of a school is especially important in a place like post-conflict Iraq. That's why Mercy Corps, with the help of generous donors and local partners, has invested so much in schools like Khanaqin Kindergarten — a place I visited yesterday.

I have many more stories and photographs to share with you about my visit to the school but, for now, I just wanted to show you this short video. Near the end of our visit, I wanted to do something that'd be kind of fun and memorable for the children whose classroom we'd interrupted. All of a sudden, I remembered this song that I used to sing to my son when he was younger (I also sang it for some displaced children in northern Uganda).

My traveling colleague for this trip, freelance photographer Sebastian Meyer, caught it on video. The singing may be off and a few of the actions certainly are. But there are very few things in the world that are as worthwhile and inspiring as the laughter of a child — as well as knowing that they have a place to go where they can be safe, and grow.