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It can be tough not to despair in the face of the relentlessly awful news pouring out of Iraq — ethnic cleansing, widespread persecution of Muslims, Christians, and Yazidis, a tyrannical government that may not be replaced anytime soon. (And Iraq is, of course, but one place amid a particularly grim summer.)
But despair leads only to inaction. And the truth is (1) we don’t have to sit idly by, and (2) we can do more than update our profile pics and share stories on Facebook.
Many good people are on the front lines of these battles addressing urgent needs — housing and feeding refugees, providing urgent medical care, forging peaceful dialogue between sects, and providing succor of all kinds. We can help them in their work. Several organizations are facing funding shortfalls, and we can fill those gaps.
I asked a friend who has worked in Iraq for several years to name organizations whose people are doing trustworthy work. He offered the following list of organizations in need (Note: Since publication, we’ve updated this list to include World Vision’s emergency response team in Erbil; see below):
Location: Northern Iraq, Baghdad, Southern Iraq
Their work: Bringing life-saving surgeries to children in Iraq.
Their work: Providing medical care and humanitarian aid and forging a peace process among religious groups in conflict.
Location: Kurdish areas
Their work: Crisis-response; providing medical care, food and water, shelter, and other supplies.
Location: Baghdad and Kurdish areas
Their work: Feeding widows, orphans, and impoverished families.
Location: Kurdish Areas
Their work: Meeting urgent needs among displaced Christians in Iraq.
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Their work: World vision is preparing a response to help those who’ve been forced to abandon their homes, including providing food, water, shelter, and health care.