Thirty-five families have taken up residence in St. Joseph Assyrian Church in Koya, Iraq. They were driven from their homes in Mosul by armed militias. Now they worry about how they will continue to survive, dependent as they are on aid.

World Vision has provided support to these and over 30,045 other IDP families—180,270 people— through its food voucher program. Every family member receives a voucher they can use to make purchases from 80 accredited supermarkets throughout Erbil Governorate.

Says Karwan Abdayousaf, a church employee, “If support for the food needs suddenly stops, they will have nothing.”

In addition to food vouchers, World Vision provided toilet and bath facilities at the church to help ensure proper sanitation and hygiene to prevent diseases.

Shawki, a 44-year-old father of three, worked as a school teacher. He and his family lived in a five-bedroom house before the most recent conflict erupted. Today, they are squeezed into a 6-foot by 6-foot square separated from other families by mattresses, cardboard boxes, and broken furniture. 

“I once earned at least $600 every month. It was not much, but I was able to provide well for my family’s basic needs,” says Shawki. “Now, I am jobless and idle, depending on support.” 
Shawki’s children, 11-year-old twins John and Joan, say they want to be an engineer and teacher, respectively. Their friend, Afram, 13, also has big dreams. “I want to be a doctor someday,” he says.

The school-age children go to a nearby government school in Koya three days a week. Afram is thankful of the opportunity to study although he also shared that going to new school in a new place has been difficult. “I do not have friends and nobody knows me,” he says. 

“I missed my friends back in Mosul,” adds Joan. “I miss playing with them. I do not know if I will see them again.”

“Many [children] express their desire to go home and regain their old lives,” says Karwan. “But they know it is impossible. The world should not forget that they need help. They have nowhere to turn to except to prayer.”

Photo ©2015 Cecil Laguardia/World Vision


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