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.

The actual best thing about raising kids? Often, it’s when other people raise them for you!

Let’s be honest, raising kids is hard. How’s that for the worn-out mother of all understatements? I’m in Iraq taking care of my three year-old and one year-old while my wife is (on a beach) in Europe for a well-deserved week long retreat, and I can tell you: this stuff is utterly, deeply, and totally exhausting.

Kids are great, and the unconditional love and relationship you build with them is amazing, but sometimes you just need to hand them off for a bit. It takes a village, right?

Now imagine being a parent going back to work in a war zone like Mosul.

Men and women across recaptured parts of the city are restarting their lives. Some never left Mosul, and others are returning home after months or years away—often bringing small children with them. They are resolved to get back to the grind so their kids don’t end up becoming another statistic, stuck in some dead-end displacement camp with nothing to do all day.

So they take a risk, scrape together savings, and start a business. Maybe they manage to get a job at a hospital or local clinic or food stall. But what do they do with their kids?

Some parents bring their kids to work. But many places, like hospitals, won’t allow this.

You’re doing something about it. Together with our amazing local partners at Iraq Health Access Organization, we’re helping these parents get back to work, providing jobs for other parents, and making sure the children of Mosul have a safe, nurturing place to be every day:

Daycare. In the middle of a war zone.

Daycare is a magical word for any parent who needs a break. Daycare is what’s keeping me alive until my wife gets back! It’s the only reason I’ve got time to share this update with you.

Your giving is making this daycare possible in Mosul—and for the parents who leave their children here each day, it’s a more than a life-saver. It allows them to save lives. Most of the parents who use our new daycare center are doctors and nurses for local hospitals, and they serve soldiers and wounded civilians injured in the battle with ISIS.

For our team here in Iraq, this is just the beginning. Our dream is to launch 100 empowerment projects in Mosul alone this year.

Keep in mind, this is all happening as the war against ISIS rages on. New bakeries, tailoring shops, day-care centers, clinics and emergency care units and water pipelines and whatever other needs we find—it’s new life and hope, creating jobs and giving families what they need to rebuild, as war thunders in the distance.

Housewarming gifts for an entire city starting over.

There’s a whole conversation to be had about when is the right time to begin rebuilding a former war zone. Is the conflict that’s still raging across the river in west Mosul far away enough? Can the local economy support these businesses?

We say right now, today. More importantly, that’s what families in Mosul are saying, too. Moms and dads in Mosul can’t afford for us to wait.

Thank you for refusing to wait until the dust has settled. Thank you for choosing to jump in, full-hearted and ready to help Mosul families rebuild.


Give families in Mosul what they need to rebuild—for today and many, many tomorrows.

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About Matthew Willingham

Matt Willingham is Preemptive Love's Senior Field Editor and writes primarily on politics, history, general updates and visual peacemaking through photography and film.

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Daycare in the Middle of a Warzone
Daycare in the Middle of a Warzone
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