Among Iraq’s Children, Orphans Suffer Most - 05.05.2008

The number of Iraqi orphans increased in the last few years due to the war. According to official Iraqi government statistics released in December 2007, the number of Iraqi orphans had reached at least five million over the last three years. Many due to the Sunni-Shia conflict. There are several social organizations caring for a small number of these Iraqi orphans, such as Child Aid International. There are approximately 26 orphanages that Alive in Baghdad has been able to locate around Iraq. Eight orphanages are in Baghdad and another 18 are distributed all over Iraq and generally they accept kids between the age of 6 and 18 years old.

One of the biggest scandals that happened in the history of the Iraq conflict is the one that happened in Al-Hanan orphanage. There were many pictures distributed online and by television of Iraqi orphans lying on the floor naked, with no food for weeks, sick and nearly dying. After this the Iraqi government began to show more attention for the orphans, there were many stories being reported regarding Al-Hanan Orphanage, like sexual abuses and bad treatment of the kids living there.

Al-A’ssal House is one of the rare orphanages that still take care of the young children who have a dead father or who are orphans due to losing both parents. The house has a special method and it’s opposed to the toy guns due to Iraq’s situation and the reason behind it, which is the constant conflict that Iraq is undergoing. Another organization was also created by this house, and it’s called the Sazan organization. This organization is taking in orphans for free, with no payment at all. Also this house employs Iraq widows in order to help the Iraqi women support themselves during the war. Despite all their hard work, this orphanage has not yet received any funding from the Iraqi government or sponsorship by a bigger humanitarian aid organization while other orphanages such as Al-Hanan orphanage received funds from the Iraqi government without oversight.

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