Blessing Peshmerga Orphans

March 17, 2016 • Iraq
winter clothes & backpack (with OCC shoebox inside) distribution to orphans of KIA Kurdish Peshmerga soliders; backpacks are not from SP
Youseff kisses the head of the children as they receive their gifts.

Iraqi children whose fathers died in the fight against terror receive winter clothing

Some of the orphans in Northern Iraq have lost fathers not in their flight from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria but in their fight against them. These men were soldiers in the Kurdish army, the Peshmerga, which is holding back ISIS from advancing in Iraq.

In cooperation with the ministry of education and another non-governmental organization, Samaritan’s Purse organized an event to bless the children of these fallen soldiers.

winter clothes & backpack distribution to orphans of KIA Kurdish Peshmerga soliders; backpacks are not from SP

Helien pauses with her box of winter clothes and Peshmerga backpack.

“In the name of the general of education, we give you thanks,” said General Director of Education Abid Youseff. ”It is our honor that you are going to help the Peshmerga orphan kids.”

Roughly 150 of these boys and girls ranging in age from 6 to 15 gathered in an auditorium wearing their best. One girl wore a dress with broad vertical red, white, and green stripes to mirror the Kurdish flag. Another young girl came in camouflage fatigues and a beret—displaying her pride in her father’s contribution to Iraq.

Square white boxes lined the stage. Each one contained a winterization kit from Samaritan’s Purse that included a warm jacket, hat, gloves, socks, and thermal underwear.

Before distributing the gifts, Youseff addressed the crowd. Then Caleb Drown, Samaritan’s Purse deputy country director for Northern Iraq, spoke.

“I would like to thank each one of you children—the sons and daughters—whose fathers fought so valiantly for your country,” he said. “I realize I am in a room full of heroes … Your fathers not only fought for the protection of this country, they fought for the freedom and protection of this world.

winter clothes & backpack distribution to orphans of KIA Kurdish Peshmerga soliders; backpacks are not from SP

All of these boys lost their fathers in service with the Peshmerga.

“This is just a small way for us to say thank you to you and to your family. Thank you for your sacrifice.”

One by one, boys and girls came to the stage to receive their boxes of winter clothing and backpacks.

One teen named Helien who received a set of the gifts just lost her father on December 16, 2015. She recalls getting ready to go to school that morning when her aunt began screaming. That’s how she found out her father had died.

The past three months have been filled with lots of crying.

winter clothes & backpack distribution to orphans of KIA Kurdish Peshmerga soliders; backpacks are not from SP

A boy wears the headdress common for men in Kurdistan as he receives his gifts—the backpack being almost as big as he is.

“What can we do?” she asked. “We’re just holding on.”

Helien was grateful for the gifts, but it didn’t lessen the ache in her heart.

“It’s nice to see that people care to give these things, but nothing can replace your dad,” she said.

“It’s good to receive these gifts today,” said Ahmed, 14.

His father—a general in the Peshmerga—died on the frontlines on August 21, 2014. The sixth of his family’s eight children, Ahmed attended the distribution together with two of his siblings. He was excited to go home and look at his gifts.

“I don’t know what there is inside, but it’s unusual to have something to open,” he said.

Each gift is a tangible expression of God’s love to these boys and girls who are hurting. As Drown told them during the ceremony, “These gifts are from people in the West who love Jesus and want to show that love to you.”

SUPPORT
For $25, Samaritan’s Purse can furnish shoes, coats, and clothing for traumatized refugees, disaster survivors, and shivering children.
Warm Clothing and Shoes For $25, Samaritan’s Purse can furnish shoes, coats, and clothing for traumatized refugees, disaster survivors, and shivering children.

Clothing Needs 013651
Suggested Gift: $25
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