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Children grip the chain-link perimeter fence around the Laylan Camp for displaced persons, outside of Kirkuk, Iraq.

Omar Sabbah has not left the displaced persons' camp where he is now living for two whole months. Originally from Tikrit, he says that if he wanted to leave, he'd have to walk a long way on an unpaved road. There are no easy ways to get out of here, he complains.

“Life in the camps is another kind of prison,” he says. “We can only hope conditions improve in our own home towns soon so we can return there.”

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Maker Monday: Laura Balfour Loves Anyway

Laura Balfour of Fleecher Designs makes #LoveAnyway postcards in support of the women served by Preemptive Love Coalition.

There is more than one way to make a difference in the world. In the next few months, we will be highlighting artists who are using their gifts of knitting, lettering, painting and photography to raise money and awareness for Preemptive Love Coalition. Their creative investment is inspiring us to look past our sometimes thin wallets to how our own talents can feed, love and empower whole families. Needless to say, we are more than excited to introduce you to these amazing people!

Laura Balfour of Fleecher Designs is a graphic designer and hand lettering artist in the Atlanta, Georgia area. 

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Three Miles From ISIS

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Peacemaking Starts with Hospitality

Yaprak is unmolded onto a platter for serving.

Yaprak is a dish common to the Middle East, called dolma in Turkey, Arab countries, Iran, and elsewhere. Every region has its own variation, reflecting the unique traditions and intricacies of each culture.

I was introduced to yaprak and Kurdish hospitality my first week here over dinner with Preemptive Love staff and some local Kurdish friends. We spent the evening sitting in their backyard, surrounded by fruit trees, beehives, and turkeys. I was forewarned: the wife likely spent all day cooking this meal as a special treat for guests.

When she brought out an empty platter and a big pot, it didn’t look like a complex meal...then she flipped the pot, revealing a mountain of leaves and colorful vegetables stuffed with rice, meat, and spices.

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