How Deeya's Heart Surgery Sent Her Back to School

Deeya stands in her classroom, dressed in her navy uniform, surrounded by enthusiastic classmates.

Deeya could hear the neighbourhood kids pass by her house on their way to school every morning. She could hear their voices through the closed windows and discussions about homework from the night before. In the afternoons, she could hear their shouts as they made their way back home–bits of gossip from the day and plans being made to play. 

She wanted to slip on a uniform and walk to school with them. She wanted to sit at a desk, to have a seat mate, and to learn. But school was completely inaccessible—though it was just 200 yards from home, Deeya was too sick to go.

Deeya sits on her hospital bed in a red nightgown. Her lifesaving heart surgery made everything possible, even school.

For many children born with a heart defect, going to school is just a dream. They don’t have the physical strength needed to get to school and they don’t have the stamina to make it through a day of studies. 

Deeya received her heart surgery, because of you. She went home from the hospital to recover. And when we saw her the next time, she was a different child!

Deeya's teacher stands behind her, her backpack is beside her, and Deeya looks like any other student—as it should be!

Deeya was a normal kid, with a uniform of her own, classmates to learn with, a desk and backpack. She could walk to school; she could make it through the day of classes. And more importantly, Deeya could prepare for her future—because of her heart surgery, she has a future!

The whole class was a little excited about having visitors. Kids cheer. Deeya stands on her desk and claps.

When Deeya graduated from kindergarten, her mother hung her diploma in their home—it was her prized possession.

When Deeya graduated from kindergarten, her diploma became her mother's prized possession.

Today, Deeya is a normal kid who worries about finishing her homework. She makes sure her school clothes are ready for the morning. And she is forging friendships that will last for years.

Normal. 

And extraordinary.

Every time you help a child receive a life-saving heart surgery, you also send them back to school!

Deeya and her friends at school, beaming smiles, being kids—just as it should be.

Deeya and her friends, dressed in their school uniforms, hold hand and smile. None of this would be possible without Deeya's lifesaving heart surgery.

Students in Deeya's classroom face the board in tidy rows.

There many ways you help to send Iraqi children back to school!

About Erin Wilson

Communications Officer for Preemptive Love Coalition, based in Iraq. Photographer + artist, storyteller + story gatherer, peace maker + bridge builder, student + teacher, unrepentant lover of unexpected beauty.


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Back to School: Deeya
How Deeya's Heart Surgery Sent Her Back to School
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