Last night, I returned from two weeks of Picturing Change with some really impressive students at American University in Iraq – Sulaimani (AUIS). EPIC’s work with AUIS students strengthens our commitment to do more to reach young people, including school-age children affected by the Syria crisis and the spread of political violence in Iraq.
I am therefore pleased to announce an EPIC new initiative, TentEd — the brainchild of our newest board member, Zack Bazzi. TentEd is a targeted effort to support the tented schools in the Syrian refugee camps of northern Iraq. Bringing together concerned citizens and veterans, including a new generation of veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, TentEd seeks to make a direct impact on the lives of young people affected by war.
Zack Bazzi, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, has already secured the support of fellow veterans like Scott Quilty of Francestown, New Hampshire. In 2006, Scott was wounded by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Here’s what Scott shared with us for our press release announcing the launch of TentEd: “I ended up, quite literally, giving an arm, a leg and nearly all of my blood to a land and people that I hardly knew. When I got home, I signed out from Iraq, focusing instead on recovering and starting a family. But I knew one day that I would be drawn back. When I heard from Zack about the conditions in the camps, it seemed like the right time to re-engage in Iraq.”
Investing in durable solutions for Syrian refugees is critical for peace in Iraq and the region.
Based on our 15-year track record and our visits to the camps over the past year, Zack and I know that targeted efforts like TentEd can rapidly address critical gaps in the education of refugee children. The work will begin this June when Zack returns to Iraq.
Basic needs such as water, food, waste removal and electricity are already being provided by government agencies and aid organizations in the camps that we visited. Our focus is on the provision of basic education supplies, a need that is not being fully met.
Learn more about TentEd and forward this email to friends and family who might also be interested in being a part of this important initiative to help provide young people affected by conflict in Syria with the chance to shape a more stable and secure future.
If you’re in the area, join us Wednesday from 6pm to 8pm for a TentEd happy hour fundraiser at James Hoban’s Irish Restaurant and Bar (1 Dupont Circle NW, Washington, DC). To RSVP, visit our Facebook event page or email Zack directly at Zack@epic-usa.org.