Continued Support from All Our Children a Boost
In the Face of Ongoing Humanitarian Need in Iraq
Church World Service
January 2004, BAGHDAD, IRAQ – The Baghdad suburb of Hai Tarek is an
unusually harsh place, and conditions here – muddy roads covered with
garbage, no sewage system, the deleterious effects of sickness and trauma –
underline the continued importance for humanitarian assistance in Iraq.
As Mazen Mohsen, an Iraqi physician, said recently: “Humanitarian work is
still needed here.”
It’s also welcome, if the boisterous -- and predominately youthful -- crowds
that greeted the daily delivery of water in this predominately Shi’ite area
was any indication.
The delivery was made possible by the support of U.S. churches –
specifically by Church World Service and other U.S. church agencies working
together on the "All Our Children" (AOC) campaign**, an inter-agency effort
to meet critical ongoing medical and health needs of Iraqi children and
has been a lead agency of the multi-agency "All Our Children" (AOC)
campaign. To date, the overall campaign has raised $841,748, with $410,000
of that amount provided through CWS. The campaign has supported a total of
The AOC-funded water project in Hai Tarek – including daily delivery of
water and distribution of jerry cans to some 55,000 people (some 5,000
families) – is improving lives in one of Baghdad’s poorest areas, an area
where most residents don’t have jobs and where eight out of 10 residents are
Another AOC-funded project is also improving conditions in the impoverished
area: $60,000 is being used to support Hai Tarek's sole health clinic, a
facility that sees up to 250 patients a day.
Dozens of Hai Tarek residents – many of them women in their black chadors
accompanied by small children –line up daily outside the clinic to see a
doctor or receive medicine.
Both the AOC-funded water project and clinic are administered by Architects
for People in Need (APN), a German-based non-governmental organization
the coming weeks, the residents of Hai Tarek will benefit from another AOC-supported
effort: five IMA medicine boxes that will provide a three-month supply of
basic medicines for 5,000 people. And later this year, children at a Hai
Tarek school down the street from the clinic will receive some of the 13,160
CWS “Gift of the Heart” School Kits that are being shipped to Iraq. In
addition, 16,450 “Gift of the Heart” Health Kits are also being sent to
These efforts must continue, given the ongoing medical problems in Iraq that
stem from long-term neglect and the past imposition of international
sanctions, said Dr. Mohsen, who called overall medical conditions in Iraq
Post-war confusion has also contributed to problems, resulting in a lack of
safe and usable medicines in Iraq. “That is the most serious problem we face
now,” the physician said. If not corrected shortly, he warned that Iraq will
face a grave health crisis in the near future.
Luckily, international efforts are easing the problem somewhat. Jean Renouf,
a program coordinator for Premiere Urgence, a French agency which has
received AOC funding, thanked AOC and its U.S. church supporters for their
assistance -- assistance he said will rehabilitate a wing and help build a
needed x-ray facility and help purchase a sonogram for a Pediatric Hospital
“It’s a good project, and we thank you.”
* Mr. Herlinger visited Iraq in mid-January 2004.
** The All Our Children campaign was founded in December 2002 to respond
to the critical health needs of Iraqi children. AOC partners are
Church World Service, the National Council of Churches U.S.A., Jubilee
Partners, Stop Hunger Now, Sojourners, the Mennonite Central Committee,
Lutheran World Relief and Oxfam America.
Pictured: Children at Hai Tarek, Shi'ite area of Baghdad and site of
an "AOC"-funded water project. Here, water is being distributed.
Photos by Chris Herlinger.
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