Providing winter clothes to displaced children from Anbar

Ali Kareem, 15, (centre) with his brother and cousins at an ECHO-supported UNICEF distribution in Amariyat Al Fallujah. © UNICEF/Iraq/2016/Fahmi

For most of the more than 500,000 families displaced by violence in Iraq, life is a constant struggle to survive. Even for those fortunate enough to have found work, providing for their children is often a challenge.

Ali Hasham is a father of three from Ramadi, and although he has a job, it pays very little, so on a clear winter’s day on a football pitch in Amariyat Al Fallujah, he’s lined up at a distribution point to receive winter clothing for his three children.

“I work in a garage,” he says. “I earn about $2 per day, so I can’t afford to buy even simple things for my family. Two days ago my youngest son asked me for shoes and I told him I couldn’t get them for him. These clothes are a great gift for my children. It makes me cry to see them so happy.”

This season UNICEF facilitated the distribution of 645,000 winter clothing kits to vulnerable children and pregnant mothers around the country. A generous donation from the European Commission — Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) supported the distribution of 99,000 clothing kits in hard-to-reach areas of Anbar, Salah Al-Din, and Babil governorates. Today’s distribution provided warm clothing for 300 children, with assistance from UNICEF implementing partner RIRP.

Ali Kareem, 15, came with his brother, Abdullah, 12, and his two cousins Taiseer, 12, and Ahmed, 5. The family has been displaced for more than two years. Just like any child, Ali is happy to have something new to wear for the upcoming school term. “I’m excited to get the new clothes and to wear them to class,” he says. “UNICEF has been helpful and given us many things since we came here.”

The clothing sets are distributed to children from three months to 14 years old. Displaced families are surveyed in advance so that everybody who comes to the distribution gets the appropriate size.

Weded Latief picks up a winter clothing set for one of her granddaughters at an ECHO-supported UNICEF distribution in Amariyat Al Fallujah. © UNICEF/Iraq/2016/Fahmi

Wedad Latief from Falluja came to the distribution with Fatima, 12, and Noor, 13 — two of her eight granddaughters. “The local NGO came to my home to inform us about the distribution,” she says. “I’m happy my eight granddaughters have nice warm clothes for school. We can’t afford to buy a new set for each of them.”

Fatima is especially pleased to be showing off her new jacket. “I love the colour and the design - it’s my favourite! I will wear it to school after the mid-year holiday,” she says.

Mohammed, 12, displaced from Fallujah, is also excited about his new winter clothes. “When I saw the clothes I liked them all. Now when I go to visit my relatives I will look well groomed and sharp,” he says with a smile.


Chris Niles is a Consultant with UNICEF Iraq.

Direct donations to UNICEF Iraq: http://support.unicef.org/campaign/donate-children-iraq

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