Soccer Salam Reaches 1000 Families in Need

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Photo by Saad of the Iraqi Health Aid Organization (IHAO), our Baghdad-based partner
Photo by Saad of the Iraqi Health Aid Organization (IHAO), our Baghdad-based partner

I have some terrific news for your Tuesday.

The first shipment of emergency humanitarian assistance has been successfully distributed to more than 1,000 displaced Iraqi children and their families at multiple camps and locations across Baghdad.

Thanks to supporters across the U.S. and the Soccer Salam team, winter blankets, sleeping bags, and soccer balls are now in the hands of some of Iraq’s most vulnerable children and families.

Beginning within days of Valentine’s Day, the distribution was completed by the Iraqi Red Crescent Society and by our MVP, the Baghdad-based Iraqi Health Aid Organization (IHAO).

The aid reached:

486 families at two of Baghdad’s largest camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), the recently constructed Nabi Yunus (Prophet Jonah) compound on the southeastern outskirts of Baghdad and the also newly built Nabi Shayth (Prophet Seth) compound on the northern edge of Baghdad;

253 families taking shelter in Baghdad’s al-Rashid district, including families being cared for by the Shakr Obood Mosque;

100 families who have taken up residence in local area schools, mosques, and unfinished buildings in New Baghdad, a central district of Baghdad;

75 families taking shelter in Baghdad’s Karadah District, including Christian families being cared for by St. Joseph Church, a local Chaldean church;

33 families living in a school warehouse building in Sadr City, a densely populated district in northeast Baghdad; and

130 especially vulnerable families living in an open field behind al-Salam University College on the southside of Baghdad– a community previously untouched by aid.

That’s what the first phase of Soccer Salam accomplished and we’re not stopping there. Learn more about how you can get involved and further our goal of helping 5,000 displaced children and their families.

As winter ending and summer fast approaching, we are consulting with the Iraqi Health Aid Organization to address the next most urgent need: clean storage tanks for water and other summer essentials. And of course, we’ll continue to deliver soccer balls because, like you, we believe that every child deserves a chance to play.

That’s our friend Saad in the photo above. Saad snapped it after helping to distribute winter relief to a community of Kasnazani Sufis living in an open field on the south side of Baghdad. Since fleeing Anbar early last year, the Kasnazani have largely been overlooked by aid agencies. Thanks to supporters like you, today these children know that there are Iraqis like Saad and Americans like you who care about their welfare. Making a positive difference in the lives of young people, that’s what Soccer Salam is all about!

For the next phase of Soccer Salam, join me as we grow our community of support even further to reach 1000s more in need.