I’m in the Baharka refugee camp outside of Erbil, where the hope of Iraq’s future is being forged in a simple, unassuming school.
There are 4,000 students here—elementary through high school—who meet four different times during the day in order to accommodate their size. Every single one of these children, including their teachers, parents, and principals have been displaced by ISIS.
Watch From the Field: Iraq | Forging Futures in the Classroom on Vimeo
In this part of the world, going to school can cost a child their life. As ISIS has infiltrated a growing number of cities, a staggering number of children have died by bombs and gunfire.
Traveling to school has simply become too dangerous . . . and in a short time, 2 million Iraqi children have found themselves without the hope of an education.
While children are relatively safe in refugee camps, schooling has been an afterthought to the overwhelming amount of physical needs. Educational opportunities have come slowly, but it is now becoming a higher priority throughout these communities.
Many of the students here in Baharka have wide gaps in their education due to conflict and are returning after extended periods of being out of school—some up to three years. They are so far behind, but this particular school is quickly helping them make up for lost time.
In addition to relief supplies, our team also had the privilege of passing out Christian literature and USBs containing the Jesus Film. Students can access the film on school computers as well as cell phones. These are simple resources, but they have the potential to be shared over and over again.
In a time when so many Iraqis are looking for answers—the answer—World Help is committed to sharing Christ’s love by providing both physical and spiritual hope. Please pray with us that these Christian resources will bear fruit throughout Baharka.
After our time at the school, we visited the makeshift home of an inspiring young student named Vianne. She and her family are Christians from Qaraqosh who barely escaped ISIS with their lives.
She told us about cramming into the bed of a truck with her family and driving behind Kurdish army lines while bullets flew past their heads. It was a miracle any of them survived.
Despite all Vianne has been through, she radiated enthusiasm and a strong sense of hope for the future. She told us she wanted to study to become a lawyer. When asked why, she replied, “Because I want to fight for the human rights of others.”
In that moment, I understood the significance these children will play in rebuilding their country. They have seen horrific things, enduring trauma and disturbing loss . . . but they still have hopes and dreams for the future.
This is Iraq’s long-term solution—a generation connected to the need and who have a strong desire to make a difference. They need human rights advocates, lawyers, medical professionals, civil engineers, and more.
They need an empowered society armed not with guns, but with resilience, empathy, compassion . . . and education.
The infrastructure in these refugee communities is fragile and in urgent need of support. That’s why World Help has committed to making the success of Baharka’s school a primary concern.
And we need your help to make this happen.
The students are in need of desks and other furniture; schoolbooks, basic supplies like pens, pencils, and paper; food for meals; hygiene materials; and more.
The investment is truly minimal compared to the role it will play in transforming Iraq.
The hope for this country lies in the empowerment of its children. Education will literally change their lives.
Today, I’m asking you to please pray for World Help’s urgent work to provide education opportunities to as many children as possible in Iraq.
And please consider partnering with us to empower a new generation of Iraqis with the tools they need to forge a stronger social infrastructure that will thrive for years to come.
Let’s help build the future of Iraq together . . . one child at a time.