New "Hope Bus" Launched to Tutor, Feed, and Provide Fun for Vulnerable, At-Risk Iraqi Children

June 13, 2017

WASHINGTON (June 12, 2017) The Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) announced today the launch of its first mobile center, the “Hope Bus,” a transformative learning and safe space for vulnerable, at-risk children in Baghdad. The project is a collaboration between ICF and its longtime Iraq NGO partner, the Justice Gate Organization (JGO).

The Hope Bus is equipped as a classroom on wheels that can accommodate up to 40 students at a time. It serves poor neighborhoods in Baghdad thatare home to vulnerable orphans, street kids, and children displaced by a more than a decade of war and ISIS. It offers tutoring in reading, writing, math, and other academic subjects, along with nutrition, psycho-social services, health care and hygiene, life skills, and childhood fun. The mobile center draws on four years of ICF-JGO experience in operating a center for street kids in a local building. Shifting to a mobile model offers unique opportunities to serve children in their own neighborhoods.

Startup funding for the Hope Bus was made possible by the efforts of Teeba, a 15 year old Iraqi girl now living in Cleveland, OH, who suffered life-threatening injuries when the car she was riding in was blown up by an IED. She was just 19 months old and her 3 year old brother died in the blast. Today, after 19 surgeries, Teeba is a young teenager with an inspiring story and resilient spirit. She served as a “Young Ambassador” at ICF’s IN THEIR SHOES 5K and raised nearly $10,000 for the Hope Bus.The new Hope Bus also complements an existing ICF-JGO initiative that deploys street lawyers and social workers in Baghdad to provide legal protection to at-risk children, train kids in how to avoid exploitation by criminals and extremists, secure documents kids need to attend school and get food benefits, access psychological and medical care, and invest in small home businesses to enable children to stop working at garbage dumps or begging.

Mais Abousy, an Iraqi-American mother and lawyer in the Washington, DC, area also announced today that she will compete in the October 22, 2017, IRONMAN 70.3 in Miami, FL, to raise $50,000 for Hope Bus staff, food, school supplies, and other needs. Ms. Abousy, who carries U.S. and Iraq flags when competing says: “I dare to HOPE for Iraq’s most vulnerable orphans, street kids, and children displaced by ISIS.  I want to show them that nothing is impossible and to believe in themselves and their future.” To donate to Mais’ IRONMAN fundraiser for the Hope Bus, click here.

Founded in 2007 by Americans working in Iraq, ICF brings awareness to the crisis facing Iraq’s children. The Iraqi Children Foundation intervenes with love and hope in the lives of Iraqi children who are vulnerable to extremists, criminals, human traffickers, abuse, and neglect.

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For media inquiries, contact Kristin Roach: kristin.roach1@gmail.com. For project inquiries, contact Cindy Fogleman: cindy@iraqichildren.org

Sara Morse