A Christmas Gift for Iraqi Children

A message from the Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF):

Dear friends of Iraqi children,

Need a holiday gift idea for family, friends, employees? Need to increase your year-end tax-deductible donations? We can help!

Make a gift in honor of someone special, and we will send you our two beautiful digital ICF Christmas cards, which you can share by email, or you can print out at home.

These cards are a special token for your gift, designed specially for ICF this year. Read more about our Christmas cards below, and please consider making a year-end contribution here:

Iraqi Children Foundation Special Christmas Cards for 2021:

The post A Christmas Gift for Iraqi Children first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Make a Difference for Iraqi Kids Today!

Dear ICF friends,

FIVE DAYS TO GO!

Our annual "In Their Shoes" 5K race weekend in Washington DC draws dignitaries, diplomats, veterans and business-people, families, and the media. This year we are going GLOBAL!

Run or walk from anywhere in the world, this September 18th. Create a team or set a personal challenge, and help us raise urgently-needed funds for Iraq's vulnerable children. You'll receive a limited edition ICF running gaiter (buff) and a digital certificate. So far, we have participants in 38 cities - will you help us make it 50??

Get ready. Join Us! Sign up now or forward this email to friends and family:

How it works:

  1. Sign up online via the RunSignup platform (link via button above), and create a fundraising page if desired.
  2. Run or walk on September 18th from anywhere in the world.
  3. Finishers receive a digital certificate and a custom ICF running buff (neck gaiter).

Share the registration list: https://runsignup.com/Race/DC/WashingtonDC/2021GLOBALINTHEIRSHOES5K

The symbolism of the ICF design is very special: sunshine symbolizing hope, growth reflected in the date palm leaf and fruit of Iraq, and water marking the Euphrates and Tigris rivers which represent the historic position of Iraq as the seat of civilization. Collect this year's limited edition orange gaiter!

The post Make a Difference for Iraqi Kids Today! first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Global Solidarity Needed for Iraq’s Vulnerable Children

From Iraq Solidarity News (Al-Thawra). Re-published with permission by Iraq Business News.

In this conversation with Liz McRae, Hussein Al-alak hears about the efforts which the Iraqi Children Foundation have been undertaking, during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. Liz McRae is the Executive Director of the Iraqi Children Foundation.

Can you tell us about the Iraqi Children Foundation and why it was founded?

The Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) intervenes in the lives of orphans and street children who are vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and exploitation by criminals, traffickers and extremists. The organization was set up ten years ago by Americans who saw the need to help rebuild Iraq after so many years of conflict. More than 800,000 children were orphaned as a result of the Iraq War, and the ISIS occupation displaced another 1.3 million.

Our vision is that all children in Iraq have a voice, and are empowered to reach their full potential. All our programs have this goal in mind. We help vulnerable children through programs like "The Hope Buses"; we convert used city buses into colorful, child friendly classrooms. Each bus has two teachers and a social worker, and serves around 50 children with tutoring, nutrition, health care, social services, practical life lessons, community, and fun.

Another program is called "The Street Lawyers"; a team of lawyers who provide legal protection for children who are targeted by criminals and traffickers, abused by employers, or are facing other risks. They also assist children to get their papers so that they can go to school.

The ICF supports children who are vulnerable. Can you describe some of these vulnerabilities?

There are many vulnerable children in Iraq. In particular, we work with children who are orphaned (meaning, they have lost one or both parents), and children who are working to support their families.

Many children in Iraq are also vulnerable due to displacement caused by conflict. These children are vulnerable to abuse and can be targeted by criminals and extremists. More recently, COVID-19 adds an extra challenge for children and families, as it has done for people all over the world.

The ICF also supports children who are at risk of exploitation. As Iraq experiences many challenges, how does exploitation manifest itself?

For families experiencing poverty, displacement, or a lack of access to job opportunities, the possibility of exploitation is increased. Many children in Iraq have to work to support their families, especially when one or both parents have died. These children can be exploited by employers, and are easy targets for criminals and extremist organizations.

The risk of exploitation is also heightened by the fact that children working are often not attending school on a regular basis. Without access to education, it becomes harder to stay away from potentially exploitative situations.

Many countries have been under lockdown due to the Covid Pandemic, what have the ICF been doing during this time?

Many children in Iraq face incredible hardship every single day, often without access to proper nutrition, education, healthcare, and safety. COVID-19 adds new challenges for these children, and also exacerbates the existing issues.For children living in poor communities, social distancing is difficult (if not impossible) due to large numbers of people living in close confines, and there may be little or no access to hygiene supplies or PPE, food, work, school, and community members. The bottom line is: COVID-19 makes vulnerable children more vulnerable.

During this critical time, we are doing our best to help keep children as safe and healthy as possible. Teams have been distributing food and hygiene supplies to vulnerable children and families in multiple cities, and our Hope Bus staff have paid home visits to children from the Hope Buses to show them how to use PPE and practice good hygiene so that they can stay safe during COVID-19.

We continue to work with the teams on the ground in Iraq, who are doing their best to work safely and always with the best interests of the children in mind.

How can people within the international community, support the Iraqi Children Foundation and their work in Iraq? 

You can do a lot from home; you are not powerless to help the vulnerable children in Iraq. Here are some things you can do to help:

Follow and spread the word - follow us on social media to learn more about the challenges Iraqi Children are facing, to hear ICF news and progress, and share to spread the word so we can make a larger impact (Facebook/LinkedIn: Iraqi Children Foundation, Instagram/Twitter: @IraqiChildren)

Give what you can - every dollar matters, especially now. Donate any amount at our Global Giving page to help. Also, new monthly donors get a 100% match on their first month of giving.

Fundraise - help us fundraise; start your own mini-campaign using Global Giving or Facebook - it only takes 5 minutes! Email liz@iraqichildren.org to find out more, and we can help you set it up.

The post Global Solidarity Needed for Iraq's Vulnerable Children first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Dr. Rafid Aziz Joins Board of Iraqi Children Foundation

Dr. Rafid Aziz Joins Board of Directors of Iraqi Children Foundation

The Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Rafid Aziz (pictured), President of the United Iraqi Medical Association in the United Kingdom, to join the ICF Board of Directors.

Grant Felgenhauer, ICF Board Chairman, said:

"ICF has pledged in 2021 to expand services to meet the medical and disability needs of Iraqi orphans and vulnerable children. Having a medical professional of such distinction on our Board will help equip ICF to pursue that commitment. We are thrilled to have Dr. Aziz join our team."

ICF has provided occasional medical support to children in Iraq in recent years, such as wheelchairs, prosthetics, and clinical services. But the charity hopes to develop a more robust medical program. Dr. Aziz will be leading ICF's efforts to expand outreach and support to Iraqi orphans and vulnerable children with medical and disability needs.

Dr. Aziz, who went to medical school in Baghdad, Iraq, serves as President of the United Iraqi Medical Association (UIMA) for the UK and Ireland, an independent network that was established to look after the professional and social needs of the Iraqi healthcare community in the UK, as well as to support medical/nursing education and effective healthcare policy in Iraq. He is also the Medical Director, Integrated Urgent Care Clinical Lead, and a trainer at Hertz Urgent Care in the UK.

(Source: ICF)

The post Dr. Rafid Aziz Joins Board of Iraqi Children Foundation first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Iraqi Woman Sets Record, Calls Attention To Iraqi Children

Mais Abousy Sets Record as First Woman to Do Indoor Iron Distance Race, Calls Attention To Iraqi Children

Iraqi-American lawyer, Mais Abousy, set a record on Saturday, November 7, 2020, as the first known woman in the world to complete an indoor Iron Distance Race, using the feat to raise awareness of Iraq's orphans and vulnerable children.

Abousy's 140.6 mile indoor Iron Distance Race was a self-curated race at the St. James sports complex in the Washington, DC, area, featuring the theme "Suffer. Learn. Change."   The race is a precursor to Mais's anticipated 140.6 mile attempt in Iraq 2022.   The November 7th race - 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.3 mile run - lasted 13 hours.

The race featured the US national anthem at the start and the Iraqi national anthem at the finish.  For the last mile of the race, she was joined by the State Department's Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East Affairs Joey Hood and the Deputy Chief of Mission for the Embassy of Iraq in Washington DC M. H. Al-Fityan.

Mais was also joined for portions of the race by Iraqi-American brothers, Yaseen Eldadah (below left) who joined the swim and Elias Eldadah (also ICF Youth Liaison, D.C.) for the bike ride (below right) joined by their father, Dr. Zayd Eldadah.

Also joining Mais in the race was Dr. Nizar Hussein (swim), Haidar Al-Kindi (bike), and Zeena Rahman, President of Enabling Peace in Iraq Center (EPIC) (run).

Mais Abousy was featured in a Washington, DC WJLA ABC 7 TV news interview and in a pre-race article in the "Washingtonian" magazine where she shared more of her story.    Abousy has previously run several marathons and a triathlon to highlight the cause of Iraq's children.

The Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) expresses its deepest gratitude to Mais Abousy for being a champion for Iraq's voiceless orphans and vulnerable children.

*    *   *

ICF intervenes with love and hope in the lives of children at risk of abuse, neglect, and exploitation by criminals, traffickers, and extremists.  ICF provides legal protection, psychosocial services, nutrition, and education to orphans, street kids, and other vulnerable children.  For more information or to donate, email liz@iraqichildren.org or visit  www.iraqichildren.org

(Source: ICF)

The post Iraqi Woman Sets Record, Calls Attention To Iraqi Children first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Road to Baghdad — a Journey of Hope for Iraqi Children

By Iraq Solidarity News (Al-Thawra). Re-published with permission by Iraq Business News.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and around the world, people are taking those first steps in support of Iraq's children.

Throughout October, the Iraqi Children Foundation are taking the Road to Baghdad on a virtual journey of 6,202 miles - the distance between Washington DC and Baghdad.

In this conversation, Hussein Al-alak speaks with Liz McRae about this month long journey and to also encourage you, to go on the road for the children of Iraq.

What is your name and what do you do?

My name is Liz McRae, and I am the Executive Director of Iraqi Children Foundation.

Can you tell us more about the Iraqi Children Foundation?

The Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) intervenes in the lives of orphans and street children who are vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and exploitation by criminals, traffickers and extremists.

The organization was set up ten years ago by Americans who saw the need to help rebuild Iraq after so many years of conflict. More than 800,000 children were orphaned as a result of the Iraq War, and the ISIS occupation displaced another 1.3 million.

Our vision is that all children in Iraq have a voice, and are empowered to reach their full potential. All our programs have this goal in mind. We help vulnerable children through programs like "The Hope Buses"; where we convert used city buses into colorful, child friendly classrooms.

Each bus has two teachers and a social worker, and serves around 50 children with tutoring, nutrition, health care, social services, practical life lessons, community, and fun.

Another program is called "The Street Lawyers"; where a team of lawyers provide legal protection for children who are targeted by criminals and traffickers, abused by employers, or are facing other risks. They also assist children to get their papers so that they can go to school.

Can you explain how the COVID-19 Pandemic is impacting Iraqi children?

Many children in Iraq face incredible hardship every single day, often without access to proper nutrition, education, healthcare, and safety. COVID-19 adds new challenges for these children, and also exacerbates other existing issues.

For children living in poor communities, social distancing is difficult (if not impossible) due to large numbers of people living in close confines, and there may be little or no access to hygiene supplies or PPE, food, work, school, and community members. The bottom line is: COVID-19 makes vulnerable children more vulnerable.

What is the Road to Baghdad and why is ICF doing it?

During the entire month of October, we're forming one big team of supporters from all over the world, to help us achieve our collective goal of traveling the distance between Washington D.C. and Baghdad.

Everyone can participate in any way you wish to "travel" with us - everything from running, walking, cycling, swimming, all the way through to dancing or housework.

Just log your daily activity and you'll help us reach our goal! We're doing this event because it's more important than ever to support Iraqi children - with COVID and other concerns, they are facing extreme vulnerability.

How do people get involved in the Road to Baghdad?

Here's how to join our virtual mission:

  • Click this link here and create your profile on My Virtual Mission!
  • Join the mission for Road to Baghdad - there's a $25 registration fee, which goes to help Iraqi Children Foundation, and everyone will receive a digital certificate at the end of the race.
  • Anyone who travels more than 10 miles during the month of October will also receive an ICF custom running buff (gaiter).
  • Signing up only takes a few minutes, and once you're done, you're ready to go! You can manually enter miles via the My Virtual Mission website, or you can download the app and pair it with your phone, smart watch, Fitbit, or other devices.

Road to Baghdad is a great way to enhance your usual fitness routine, to set yourself a personal challenge, or even to contribute to a great cause while doing nothing differently! Remember, all your normal movement counts! You can go one mile or you can go one thousand miles... everything helps!

Sign up now and get involved - you'll be helping Iraq's most vulnerable children while also completing a personal challenge. Remember you can sign up ANY time throughout the month of October.

Send a message of support to people taking part on the Road to Baghdad by joining the Iraqi Children Foundation on Twitter and Facebook.

If you'd like to contribute towards ICF's work in Iraq please click here.

The post Road to Baghdad -- a Journey of Hope for Iraqi Children first appeared on Iraq Business News.

Iraqi-American Teen Raises Thousands for Iraqi Orphans

Iraqi-American Teenager Raises Thousands in Support for Iraqi Orphans in 100-Mile Bike Ride

Elias Eldadah, an Iraqi-American high school student, raised over $7,500 for Iraqi orphans this month by organizing a 100-mile (161 km) bike ride in the Washington, DC area.

Joining him in the cause were his teammates and friends - Michael LesStrang, Jake Shue, and Aidan Ortiz.  The four riders began at 4am (11am Baghdad time) Sunday morning, August 2, 2020, and finished approximately 8 hours later.

"We are fortunate to live far away from the pain that children no different from us have to endure daily, and we wish to do our small part for them," Elias and his team said in launching the two-week GoFundMe campaign.

The fundraiser caught traction so quickly that its goal was raised multiple times from the original $1,000.  Even as the race ended, donations continued to roll in.  The final total reached $7,650.


Elias (pictured above right) is the Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) Youth Liaison for the Washington, DC area.

* * * * *

The Iraqi Children Foundation intervenes with love and hope in the lives of children at risk of abuse, neglect, and exploitation by criminals, traffickers, and extremists.  It does so by providing legal protection, psychosocial services, nutrition, and education to orphans, street kids, and other vulnerable children.  For more information, visit www.iraqichildren.org.

(Source: ICF)

ICF Steps Up Advocacy with New Identity Refresh

The Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF), the United States' largest charity devoted exclusively to advocacy and support for Iraq's children, premiered today a fresh, impactful design and message for the cause.

ICF Board Chairman Mohammed Khudairi explained:

"Today, we reintroduce ourselves to Americans and the international community with a fresh voice. For over a decade, ICF has intervened with love and hope in the lives of children who are vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and exploitation by criminals, traffickers, and extremists. 

"We have invested in life-changing education, legal protection, psychosocial services, nutrition, and other support for the most marginalized children: orphans, street kids, children displaced by war, child laborers, and disabled kids.  We are now standing with them in the face of new dangers from COVID-19."

Liz McRae, Executive Director, said:

"We started this process in early 2020 and poured our hearts and souls into creating a new image that would accurately depict who we are at our core, as an organization. As COVID-19 began to dramatically impact the world and our work, we doubled down on our efforts to refocus on our organization and the way we do things.

"Our mission and vision are strong, and we recognized the importance of the right tools to communicate messages driving real and meaningful change. We are committed to 'thinking big' to address the critical need for orphans and street children in Iraq, now more than ever."

ICF's voice for Iraq's children is reflected in the visual identity the organization debuted today.  It reflects a modern, bright, optimistic and inclusive outlook, focused on the deepest needs of children to belong to their family, community, and nation.

This idea is presented in the graphic pattern, with four elements surrounding the map of Iraq: the sunshine symbolizing hope, growth in the form of the date palm leaf and fruit of Iraq, and water marking the Euphrates and Tigris rivers which represent the historic position of Iraq as the seat of civilization.

The tagline - Protect. Nurture. Empower. - codifies ICF's core mission to ensure all children are safe, have a voice, and are empowered to reach their full potential.

* Cuneiform inscriptions based on the ancient writing systems of Mesopotamia.

That mission - to protect, nurture, and empower - is manifested in ICF's projects in recent years, including a "Street Lawyers" project providing legal protection and aid to more than 1,200 children and securing legal identity documents needed for school and nutrition and other benefits for 1,300 children.

Social services - including services for mental health, ending abuse, stopping child labor, and medical care - have been delivered to 1,006 children.  Two child-friendly and colorful "Hope Buses" in a desperately poor neighborhood provide tutoring and nutritious meals to empower an average of 100 orphans and street children each school day.

Some of these initiatives have been seriously impacted by COVID-19 related curfews in Baghdad and other obstacles to service operations.

ICF is a non-partisan, non-sectarian tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charity with top Platinum status on Guidestar.  It is also listed on the U.S. government's workplace giving platform, the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC #95191).   Board and Advisor leadership includes veterans, former Ambassadors, top U.S. child welfare experts, Iraqi-American professionals, and business executives.  ICF initiatives in Iraq are executed with competent, trusted Iraqi NGO partners who know local communities and urgent needs best.   ICF relies on both private and corporate donations to make this work possible.

Learn more about our work and donate at www.iraqichildren.org, or contact ICF Executive Director Elizabeth (Liz) McRae at liz@iraqichildren.org

(Source: ICF)

ICF Cancels 5k Fundraiser, Appeals for Donations

The Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) has announced that, due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, it has made the difficult decision to cancel its annual "In Their Shoes" 5K run, originally scheduled for June.

In a statement, the ICF also renewed its call for donations to help it support Iraqi children and their families:

Dear friends,

At ICF, our highest priority is the health and safety of Iraqi children, and of our community of wonderful supporters around the world. With this in mind, and considering the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our "In Their Shoes" 5K in June this year.

While we are disappointed that we will not get to meet in person in June, we need your support now more than ever. Iraqi children and their families face many of the biggest challenges imaginable, now including the rapid spread of COVID-19.

We are committed to continuing to support these children with essential services including healthcare and nutrition, and we will continue to update you with how we are responding to the ever-evolving challenge of the current pandemic.

Please watch this space for more information about how you can support and help us grow our community. We look forward to staying in touch virtually for now, and we will look forward to seeing you for our "In Their Shoes" 5K in 2021.

We will be in touch with anyone who has registered online for the 5K already to outline next steps. If you have the capacity to donate at this critical time, please click the button below. Thank you for your ongoing support; together we will continue to work to protect the vulnerable orphans and street children of Iraq.

With love,

The ICF Team