A chat with the Critical Needs Support Foundation
In the past few months, CNSF has distributed 280 sanitation kits and given lessons on good hygiene at four different locations in Iraqi-Kurdistan- 35 kits on Sinjar mountain, 185 kits in Zakho (on the Turkish-Iraqi Border), 25 in Sheikhan (mostly to widows), and 35 in Erbil (Ammar described the camp as full of half-built house skeletons). These kits are important preventative measures that not only stop the spread of diseases like cholera and scabies, but that also help families to avoid emergency medical expenses. Ammar explained that many displaced people are living on less than $40 a month, and simply don’t have any extra money for medicine or doctors. By preventing more extreme illnesses, hygiene kits not only improve sanitary conditions in camps, they also help refugees save money, which can then be used for necessities like food, clothes, and schooling.
For those of us in the U.S. it is often difficult to get an accurate picture of the real conditions on the ground in Iraq, and luckily for us Ammar was able to share some of his recent experiences there. He told us about recent activity by ISIS in different areas, the varying conditions of electrical and water services across Iraq and Iraqi-Kurdistan, the conditions in refugee and IDP camps, and the current political climate. His report was realistic about the challenges faced, but still optimistic- conditions are hard and sectarian tensions are high, but he personally thinks that ISIS will be driven out of Iraq by the end of the year.
Ammar also gave us some details on CNSF’s other programming, which includes:
An orphanage, which currently has 37 children in residence.
A safehouse for girls rescued from ISIS. CNSF currently supports 27 girls, all of whom receive trauma counseling and medical care. The girls are between the ages of 9 and 40, most of them in their teens.
The New Life Program, which teaches skills like carpentry and sewing so that displaced Iraqis can find work. 52 girls have obtained positions in a factory, and others have been giving sewing machines so that they can work from home.
Emergency aid for isolated groups like the population of Sinjar mountain.
If you would like to support our Water for Peace hygiene kit project and help promote better health for displaced Iraqis and reconciliation between our countries, please click here, or sent a check with hygiene kits in the memo line to IARP at 416 E Hennepin Ave #116, St. Paul MN, 55414