Iraqi Children Fleeing ISIS Experience Love From Texans Across the Seas

December 15, 2015

Iraqi children fleeing ISIS need more than food and blankets – they need psychological care, lots of love, and even time for childhood play and fun. Now, thanks to the Rotary Club of Austin, TX, that is exactly what some very deserving kids in Iraq are getting.

Working with the Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) and our partners in Iraq (IHAO), a 10 week program for 36 boys and girls (ages 9-15) has been launched at a camp near Baghdad housing 250+ people displaced by ISIS. Not only have the kids fled the horrors of ISIS, the camp was recently flooded and now temperatures are dropping as winter arrives in the desert.

A special tent has been erected to serve as a safe haven for children – a
place of love, fun, learning to trust, and the beginning of healing. Several staff with training in psychological support for children are leading the sessions.

Among the planned activities are a Lifebook which addresses the need to belong in children who have experienced trauma, the death of a loved one, or loss of home and friends. The book was created as a tool to address child trauma by the award winning Children’s Village (CV) of New York, in collaboration with ICF. In the book, children can record their feelings today and their hopes and dreams for tomorrow; their memories of loved ones; their love of their community and nation.

A second book “New Day, New Friends,” developed in collaboration with LitWorld and CV, is a story about friendly animals who help each other. It focuses on 7 strengths important to building resilience in children experiencing trauma, such as compassion, friendship, and confidence.

ICF expresses its deepest appreciation to the Austin Rotary for its generous investment in Iraq’s extremely vulnerable children. Thank you for joining our team in making a life changing difference for these kids!

Cindy Fogleman