Iraq

Hygiene kits distributed to Elwiya Orphanage for girls in Baghdad

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I accompanied EMDH to Elwiya Orphanage for girls in Baghdad yesterday. Thirty-three hygiene kits were distributed for the 66 girls that live there. (Contents: 4 towels, 4 bars of soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, toothpaste, 4 toothbrushes, bandages, hairbrush, comb, fingernail clippers, feminine hygiene pads.)
The girls eagerly lined up, two-by-two, down the hall. Waleed Al-Abrashi, long-time EMDH staff, assisted the girls in opening the buckets. When each bucket was opened and handed over, the pair was up the stairs and to their rooms to check out the contents.

When all the girls had received them we went upstairs to find the girls in their various dorm rooms with the things spread around them. It was heartening to see the girls, response. (Though perhaps a little sad to see something so mundane and practical received like it was Christmas.)

I asked Shahad what her favorite item was. Waleed translated and without hesitating produced the shampoo from the bucket with a smile. I asked Nora what she thought of the kit. She said simply and sincerely, in English, "It's beautiful".

Leyla Kadim, the Director of the school, thanked AoC for the support and for the personal visit. She was glad we we could be there during the actual distribution.

I was proud to be associated with these kits. They really are a first-rate resource. A wonderful example of giving the very best. A number of the EMDH staff commented on how pleased they were with them. Michel Savel, EMDH Iraq Coordinator, said, while holding a towel, "These are very good quality. Better than you can buy here." EMDH Social Department Coordinator, Dalal Fakhreddine said "These are really very nice". They were clearly impressed with the kits.

EMDH received about 1800 kits with the AoC project with the understanding that they might not all go to children. About 120 kits will assist 240 children in 5 institutions (orphanages and homes for street children) in Baghdad and one orphanage for boys in Karbala. Although EMDH has responsibility for institutions throughout Iraq, 32 total, post-war assessments have found the other institutions supplied with hygiene items due to other support.

An additional 60 kits will go to the staff of these 6 institutions. Some of the staff are 18 - 20 year old girls who grew up in the orphanages but have stayed on as staff because of the difficulty of young women without families to find a place in Iraqi society.

Yesterday morning at the orphanage was perhaps the highlight of my time in the region to date. I'm lucky to be the point person for AoC. Thanks.

Steve Weaver