Orphans in the city of Mosul still live in ruined areas and homes as the reconstruction process has slowed down. Many families still have not found their loved ones who have been crushed beneath the rubble after the liberation operations.
Volunteer With Us, an aid organisation based in Mosul, is providing support for the city’s thousands of orphaned children. Many of the children lost their families during the occupation of the city by ISIS militants, or in the subsequent battle to eliminate the militants by the Iraqi Security Forces.
One adoptive mother, whose house was severely damaged during the battle against ISIS, has adopted five orphaned children after her own children were killed in the fighting.
“She has lost all her children and she has these orphans under her care with no one to help her,” said one of the aid workers. “Her condition is tragic and as you can see her home is in this terrible condition. It does not protect them from the heat.”
The volunteers are attempting to alleviate the poverty that many of Mosul’s orphans have been subjected to since the loss of their families by handing out aid baskets that have been supplied to Volunteer With Us by donors.
The aid baskets include brand new clothing for the children and food packages for the adoptive parents to provide a nutritious daily iftar meal for the children.
“We are now on the Left Bank (east) of Mosul, we have visited more than one orphaned family and their conditions are truly tragic,” said another of the aid workers representing Volunteer With Us. “The orphans have no support and they lack life’s basic essentials. We have only managed to provide a Ramadan basket of goods and some Eid clothes and their happiness was beyond description.”
This year marks the first free Ramadan since ISIS militants captured the city in mid-2014. However, for many of the city’s orphans, it is also the first Ramadan that they will spend without their parents and families.
In order to give the children an opportunity to socialise with each other and forget their hardships, a number of orphanages and private donors recently organised a communal iftar in the streets of Mosul. The meal, named Project of the Orphans Joy, helped create a sense of normality and of community for the children, as well as to provide them with gifts and much-needed new clothes.