When soccer brings peace

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Displaced children play soccer with balls donated by Soccer Salam (July 2015).
Displaced children play soccer with a ball donated by Soccer Salam (July 2015/IHAO).

In 2007, Iraq won the Asia Cup sending waves of euphoria across Iraq as millions of people took to the streets to celebrate, bringing a brief respite to the violence.

That unifying moment for the people of Iraq has never been forgotten, inspiring the launch of Soccer Salam — a youth-empowering project delivering lifesaving essentials and soccer balls to Iraq’s most vulnerable children and their families.

Now we have a goal that everyone can rally behind: helping 2,000 displaced families in need this summer!

To reach that goal, we’ve launched this Crowdrise fundraiser. We’re asking you and everyone we know to help us raise $20,000 for the purchase of food, water tanks, medicine, and other essentials – along with soccer balls – that these families urgently need this summer.

Beyond addressing the basic needs of displaced families, Soccer Salam is also providing a chance for kids just to be kids, helping them heal from the traumas of war.

As Marion Abboud, a long-time EPIC supporter who volunteers in Iraq, observed:

In emergency humanitarian situations, recreational programs for children are usually at the bottom of the priority list. But the reality is that recreational activities like sports, art, music and dance provide the children with opportunities to be active and creative, to express themselves, work in teams, and find the structured environment that is lacking in the camps. Through these activities, the children can assert themselves and feel acknowledged, rather than feeling voiceless and invisible. As such, these activities are key to giving the children the strength and resilience they need to lead positive, happy and productive lives moving forward.

This summer, help us make that happen.

Your contribution can make a world of difference in the life of every child we reach.

Please visit our Crowdrise fundaiser and donate to help us reach 2,000 of Iraq’s most vulnerable families — and their children — this summer. Thank you for your consideration and support.

Erik K. Gustafson

About Erik K. Gustafson

Erik is EPIC's founder and director. As a U.S. veteran of the 1991 Gulf War, Erik has devoted his life to humanitarian action and empowering youth in support of Iraq's peace and development.