Volunteers in the city of Fallujah in Iraq have taken the initiative to provide new clothes for 165 orphaned children in the run-up to Eid.
Local activists, with financial support from philanthropists, have taken orphaned children to one of the main shopping centres in Fallujah during Eid, as part of a charitable campaign to provide 165 orphans in the city with new clothes.
Many of these children lost their parents during periods of violence, and their needs are both financial and emotional. One activist told reporters that the aim of the project is to “bring joy” to the orphans during Eid festivities, as well as simply ensuring that they have access to new clothes that they cannot afford.
In 2016, The United Nations had estimated that over 100,000 people had fled their homes in Fallujah during the attempts to reclaim the city from ISIS, which was the first city to come under ISIS control in Iraq in 2014.
Although ultimately successful in their efforts, charities on the ground in Fallujah continued to tell of heart-breaking stories of suffering endured by the children of the city.
In recent years, many of the children arriving at the refugee camps near Fallujah had witnessed public executions and lost loved ones in the fighting. In addition, many children remained unaccounted for, having been recruited by ISIS as soldiers when they were young boys of 14 or 15 – in many cases following their fathers into battle.
Following the defeat of ISIS, the UN announced $15m through the Central Emergency Response Fund to provide urgent life-saving assistance for displaced people in the area, an amount still lower than required in order to adequately respond to the humanitarian crisis.
More recently, NGOs have worked with mothers and children to help address the traumas of life under ISIS, widening access to education for young girls who were deprived of it during the war.
There is little doubt that this local project’s objective is two-fold: financial, in that there remains a shortfall in funding to help the children of Fallujah rebuild their lives, and psycho-social, spreading love and goodwill to children whose recent experiences have robbed them of an innocent childhood.