Kids House teacher Miss Ashwoq reads to her students in a classroom tent in Ankawa, a Christian suburb in Erbil, northern Iraq. Kids House is a kindergarten started in 1994 by the Chaldean Church’s Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. MCC’s Global Family education sponsorships help make it possible for the Sisters to accept students who cannot afford to pay tuition fees.
Amar Cesar, 5, talks with Kids House principal Sister Azhar. Violence against Christians and other minority groups in some parts of Iraq has forced many families to seek refuge in northern Iraq. Amar’s family is from the Yazidi religious group and fled to Erbil from Mosul. Through Kids House, Amar now has many friends, self-confidence and dreams of being a pilot when he grows up.
Kids House students participate in group activities with their teachers. Kids House is well known in Erbil for its reputation as a place of solid, holistic development for children, ages three to five. Kids House has an enrollment of 240 children.
Bishop Bashar Warda, Archbishop of the Chaldean Diocese of Erbil, is deeply committed to helping Iraqi Christians claim their historical and legal right to live in Iraq and to contribute to national reconciliation, peacebuilding and stability. MCC works closely with the Chaldean Catholic Church to support Iraqi Christians affected by violence and unrest.
MCC worker Deb Fine teaches English to a group of seminary students at St. Peter's Seminary in Ankawa. MCC has supported Babel College and St. Peter's Seminary since 2007 through providing teachers for English language instruction.
St. Peter's Seminary student Hans Shamoaay reads a bible passage in English during a morning church service at the seminary. The young seminarians are eager to learn the English language so that they can read and study a wider selection of books, establish relationships with people from other countries and share the history and experiences of Iraqi Christians with people in other countries.
Rehabilitation, Education and Community Health (REACH) Director Dana Hassan talks about the different regions where his Iraqi-run organization works in Iraq. MCC, in collaboration with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, supports a $750,000 integrated drought response project developed by REACH to meet the needs of farmers in 76 drought-affected villages in the governorates of Erbil and Suleimaniya.
Fatima Majeed Hamarash, 85, is the mother of Monsour Nasir Khallaf, a member of a community based organization that worked with the REACH staff to develop a project in the village of Zhalay Darband. “It has changed our life,” said Hamarash. She and other villagers now have easier access to an abundant supply of clean water through a central water system. Wastewater is used to irrigate gardens.
On a stony hill outside the village of Zhalay Darband clean, sparkling water now flows naturally from an artesian well into a concrete cistern. Water then flows down the hill through a network of pipes to connect the school, school house and 29 homes to a central water system. Zhalay Darband is among 76 villages to benefit from the MCC supported integrated drought response program developed by REACH.
Shortage of water made it impossible for Sherzad Aziz Rasel, a farmer and beekeeper in the Barsmaq-Mawat district, to plant crops the past seven years. He was part of a local committee that assisted REACH with developing a MCC-supported water storage tank. The tank is now filled with water from a natural spring and enables him and about 20 other landowners in his village to irrigate their land.
REACH Agriculture Engineer Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah stands with Sakar Hussain, 25, by her nursery greenhouse in the Dashety Telee village in the Mawat district. Through a MCC-supported integrated drought response program, Abdullah helped Hussain set up the greenhouse that provides seedlings to other greenhouses. This business helps her combine her training in business and passion for agriculture.
Ramayr Khallaf, 4, drinks from a tap that brings water directly to his home in the village of Zhalay Darband. "Water is life," said Dana Hassan, director of REACH. "Water helps keep farmers on their land and increases production capacity of future years."