Children have been the most vulnerable group within Iraqi society to be afflicted by the devastation caused by ISIS militancy over the past few years.
Several thousands of children in Iraq have been left orphaned after the devastation caused by ISIS in the past few years. Civil society organisations have been left to pick up the pieces and provide support for children who have been left without parents and other family members. Civil society organisations came together in Diyala to mark the occasion of “Orphans’ Day” in order to raise awareness about the plight of motherless and fatherless children and to provide an occasion during which they may feel that they are not alone.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in the Diyala Governorate has established an orphanage to cater for the abandoned children there. Reports state that some children have been prevented from being registered as orphans due to tribal constraints.
There are also demands for the Ministry of Labour to set up an orphanage for girls, who have not yet received the necessary support.
Orphans who have been left behind after losing family members who were living in poverty have been forced to look for ways to earn a livelihood from an exceptionally young age. Many have been left to their own devices and are selling vegetables or whatever they can find on the streets of Diyala.
A number of orphanages have been set up across Iraq to deal with the issue of abandoned children. For example, an orphanage in Dohuk was established with the aim of housing Yazidi children who had nowhere to go after their families were murdered in the ISIS attack on Sinjar in 2014.
In areas where there are no centres or institutions to take in abandoned children, there have been individuals who have provided orphans with shelter and food, for example this woman who took in 22 orphans at once.
Nevertheless, there are still many orphans across Iraq whose needs are still not being attended to.