Some Aid Deliveries Are Hard. This One Was Really Hard.

Every food delivery in a war zone like Aleppo or Mosul is difficult. But some are especially hard.

This delivery in west Mosul was one of the especially hard ones.

We had a plan. Our team was ready, volunteers were in position, security checked out. And then we got the call… things were changing on the ground. People were moving, communities we planned to visit had already gotten food, and the true need—the people who needed help most desperately—they were closer in, nearer to the frontline.

If You Think Christianity Is Dead in Iraq, You Don’t Know What These People Are Made Of

There used to be more than a million Christians in Iraq. That was before the 2003 invasion. Before the insurgency. Before ISIS.

No one knows exactly how many Christians are left today. Some say as few as 250,000. Some say that Christianity will inevitably disappear from Iraq altogether. 

Getting Kids Back to School so Families Can Get Back Home

Families are returning to Telskuf, an ancient Christian community on the outskirts of Mosul. They fled when ISIS swept through the area, intent on wiping out Christianity.

Now these families want to rebuild. But there’s one thing they need before they can come home to stay:

They need a way to get their children back in school.

You're Protecting Kids from One of the Greatest Threats They Face: Measles

You probably don’t worry about the measles too much. But in Iraq, measles is one of the leading causes of childhood deaths. Due to years of war and upheaval, large numbers of children have never been vaccinated, leaving them vulnerable to life-threatening illnesses like polio and measles.

Shepherding Her Way through Trauma, Illiteracy, and Displacement

“We had three sheep!” It was an important point for Layla to make. She described her life centered around a two-story house in a village back in Sinjar, her home before ISIS came and changed things forever.

Children are Starving in West Mosul—So You're Sending In the Trucks

More and more reports of starvation in Mosul are surfacing each week. People inside the city have messaged us directly, describing the desperate situation and begging us to bring more food to west Mosul. ISIS becomes even more ruthless, every time they lose ground in their former Iraq capital, and it’s the civilian families who are being squeezed.

4 Things You're Making Possible in Syria Right Now

In the wake of April’s chemical attack, you showed up to let Syrian people caught in conflict know they are not forgotten. You had a remarkable response to that devastating news, even as you continued to provide for families in other parts of Syria.

While the news reports are often heartbreaking, we are not helpless to bring hope and relief. Here are four ways you showed up for war-torn families in Syria last month...

Syria Chemical Attack: Stories of Survivors

"I started to feel the effects of the gas. But I couldn’t just leave people in the streets.

Earlier this week, CNN shared horrifying footage of people dying in last month’s chemical attack in Syria. Over the past few weeks, we’ve received similar footage from our friends in Syria. It is hard to watch. Not everyone should watch it.

We’ve chosen not to share this footage because such heartbreaking images can overwhelm some people to the point that they feel paralyzed. Instead, we want to motivate you to action by sharing some of the people who survived the attack.

Moms Are People Too

On Mother’s Day, we talk about moms. A lot. For obvious reasons. But there’s a tendency to only talk about and express gratitude for this one singular role they play—as if the role of “mom” were completely isolated from all the other roles women play or their existence as whole people.

The truth is that all moms, regardless of whether or not they work outside the home, are many things in addition to being moms.

Moms are actual people. And no person can be summed up in a single story.

The Last ISIS Oil Fires Near Mosul Have Been Put Out. Now What?

The last oil fires near Mosul were finally put out in April, according to Rudaw Media Network.

Heavy black smoke filled the skies over northern Iraq for months. The fires were set by ISIS militants in the early days of the Mosul Offensive, as they were forced to retreat north. 

How Do You Explain Suffering and War to Your Kids? Light a Candle.

How do you talk with a child about the hard things in our world—like violence and war? How do you invite them into the sacred work of mending what is broken?

Daycare in the Middle of a Warzone

Parents, what is the best thing about raising children?

You might say it’s the unconditional love, the reward of knowing you’re bringing hope-filled life into a dark and dreary ward, or the joy you get from nurturing a strong and caring family.

Yeah, that’s all wrong.

Food, Water, Medicine: This Is What a Month's Worth of Your Love Looks Like in Mosul

It didn’t make the news often, but the battle for Mosul continued last month. And your love kept showing up on the frontlines—again and again—for those whose lives have been ravaged by conflict. We listened as victims of war told us about their needs. Then we worked with a coalition of local staff, friends, and partners to meet them.

What If There’s Another Chemical Attack? Preparing Families in Syria for the Unthinkable

Do you know how to recognize a chemical attack or the best way to respond if one occurs?

Unfortunately, neither do people in Syria. Because until a month ago, most of them had as much experience with chemical attacks as you do.

The Unspoken Heartbreak of Motherhood

She sits beside her daughter’s bed, a quiet presence. Asma, her daughter, looks so beautiful lying in her bed after heart surgery, tucked up under a pink blanket and hair smoothed back into neat pigtails. For days now, Asma’s mom has come to see her every few hours. The nurse makes sure there is a chair for her to sit—she is older, and it’s hard for her to stand for long visits.

It looks like Asma is sleeping, but the truth is a little more complicated. Like the other children in the ICU, she had a complicated heart defect that could only be fixed with surgery. Unlike the other children in the ICU… Asma hasn’t woken up yet.

A Refugee Camp Called “Dream City” Is Finally Living up to its Name, Thanks to These Doctors

Dream City is a strange name for a displacement camp. Then again, this unfinished residential complex, located in the heart of Iraq, was never meant to house refugees. Thousands of families took shelter here last year, as the battle against ISIS moved north toward Mosul, and they haven’t been able to return home yet.

The medical needs of these Dream City families are unrelenting.

What Jimmy Kimmel's Son Shares in Common With These Iraqi Kids

“If your baby is going to die and doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make.”

In a tearful monologue Monday night, late show host Jimmy Kimmel revealed that his son was born with a life-threatening heart defect last week—the same defect we see in many of the kids we care for here in Iraq.

The Greatest Threat to Survival in Refugee Camps

For families fleeing conflict, the greatest threat to survival—once they have reached the safe harbor of a refugee camp and have access to food and water—is the lack of medical care. 

She Was Expected to Get Married and Stay Home. War Changed Everything.

“I’d like to show you my work…”

Hiyam was standing quietly beside us, patiently waiting for an opening in the conversation. Her phone at the ready, she quickly swiped through photos, showing us candles that she made at home to sell to neighbors.

She smiled and ducked her head a little in modesty as we “oooed” and “aahed” over her creations, but Hiyam was clearly proud of her work. As she should be.

Hiyam is a talented craftsperson. She is also one of the most steadfast women we know.

Responding to Mom-Guilt by Living with Dignity

The day that Zainab’s son walked through the door with new soccer shoes, a wave of guilt tore through her heart. He had been asking for new shoes, but Zainab and her husband had no money. They were drowning in debt. There was so little work for her husband in the refugee camp for displaced Syrians, they couldn’t even feed their family with what he earned.

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