The New Artist in Kirkuk

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Written by Sana Salam Zada, Project Manager, Iraq

Zain is just 5-years-old. He and his family were forced to flee their hometown of Daqouk, Iraq due to ISIS attacks and recently arrived in the city of Kirkuk. Having left their home and jobs behind, his parents now seek to build a life in a strange, new city, but struggle to make ends meet. Beyond the ‘typical’ challenges faced by refugees, Zain is also a deaf child.  Heartbreakingly, in times of conflict disabled children like Zain suffer disproportionately.

War Child is committed to serving the most vulnerable children and helping them recover from the traumas of war. Together with our local partners, War Child is providing Early Childhood Development programming where displaced children can learn, play, and begin to reclaim their childhood. While children attend the sessions, we provide employment training, literacy and numeracy classes, and psychosocial support for their mothers, so they can begin to earn an income and to rebuild their lives.

Zain is now enrolled in War Child’s program where he is able to go to school, make friends, and feel like a normal 5-year-old boy again. This has not only been transformative for him, but for his entire family. As his mother shared: “I feel happy because Zain started to smile again and draw nice pictures…He made new friends…My wish came true because Zain never feels he is disabled when he’s in these classes.” Zain now encourages his mother to attend to the program because he wants her to be happy—and he especially loves when he gets to visit her during her training sessions!

War Child’s commitment to stymying the long-term effects of war and violence are not just stories you read on your computer screen. The issues we combat involve real people, with real dreams, hopes and fears. Millions of individuals, like Zain and his family, are haunted by questions of survival in war-zones around the world every day.  Despite everything he has been through, Zain still dreams about the future, and his place in it. The War Child team asked him what he wants to be when he grows up, to which he replied with a smile, “I want to be an artist.”

Children like Zain are the reason we do the work we do every day. With your support we can continue to reach the most vulnerable children and their families in war-zones around the world, and empower them to dream of a future free from war. Donate today.