“I was told to leave my country or die,” said Sanaa*. “They didn’t say why.” So in 2009, Sanaa left all she had worked for in Baghdad to go and live in Istanbul. She had friends in the Turkish capital, but nothing else.
“Things are hard here. I left behind my house, my friends, my family and my job. I was a dentist in Iraq but I don’t have a job in Turkey because the language is very difficult,” said Sanaa.
“I’m zero here. I don’t know what my future is. I depend on myself for everything. Before, my family used to help me,” she said.
Caritas Turkey supports Iraqi refugees through theWomen’s Solidarity Group in Istanbul. The group is a lifeline for Iraqi women, for whom the challenges of being alone in a new country are enormous. It helps them tackle their sense of alienation and offers an environment in which […]
Caritas centres are dotted across the poorer areas of Baghdad. The typical working day of a Caritas employee begins with traffic jams, road checkpoints, closed streets, and, in some cases, bomb explosions. It takes some workers up to two hours to get to the centres, although they live less than 10 km away. They need to get an early start to be there at the daily staff meeting at 8 a.m.
“We have to discuss the day, talk about current projects and possible improvements. There is no time for that in the day,” said Aasera*, a staff member.
Shortly after, people start to come. Mothers with their babies need a doctor’s consultation. They also come to learn about living healthy lives. Elderly people want to get a warm meal and socialize. Children are eager to play and learn. There are orphans, disabled, widows or victims of violence.
“The place is always very […]
When Caritas Iraq was founded in 1992, the first Gulf War had recently ended and the country was under international sanctions.
Seventeen years, one invasion, much violence and heartache later, accessing food, water and basic services is still an enormous challenge for some of Iraq’s population.
“Before the sanctions, people had access to social and health services and even though infrastructure was archaic, it was working. Now it isn’t working,” says Archbishop Jean Sleiman, President of Caritas Iraq, on a visit to Caritas Internationalis’ Vatican City offices.
Young children in particular are at risk from malnutrition and ill health if they can’t access food and adequate medical care. Caritas Iraq tackles potential child health problems with its well baby programme.
The programme is currently helping 6000 mothers and around 10,000 children by providing them with food baskets, medical and psychological support. Child malnutrition stands at around 22 percent in Iraq and the food […]