CATHOLIC TEACHERS COME TOGETHER TO SEND SUPPORT TO PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS IN IRAQ

“To see them homeless, to see them in the condition they’re in was really heartbreaking. Kids are innocent. They don’t know any better. A lot of them just want to go to school.” These are the very words of Yaldo. 

Yaldo is just one among a constantly growing team of volunteer teachers and helpers called TEACH, who are jointly lending their hands to bring support to Iraqi kids and their families that are going through despicable times in their country – a lot of them are being driven out of their homes because of their religious beliefs. 

TEACH, an acronym for Teachers Educating and Creating Hope, is made up of mostly Chaldean educators and volunteer individuals in metro Detroit, who have come together to alleviate and possibly put to an end the suffering that little children are going through in the troubled Middle-Eastern country. 

TEACH is a brainchild of St. Thomas the Apostle Chaldean Catholic Diocese in MI, headed by Bishop Francis Kalabat, and it was put together back in early September as a sort of response to the increasing rate at which Iraqi Christians are being forced out of their homes and made to suffer. 

With Melody Arabo, a 35-year-old instructional coach for Walled Lake Consolidated Schools and the current Michigan Teacher of the Year, as a founding and very vibrant member of TEACH, they have been able to garner more than 20,000 units of coats, a sizeable amount of hygiene products, cash donations and clothing to help Iraqi Christians who have been displaced from their homes and communities by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). 

It seems the group, aside from giving general help to the Christian community living down there, is putting more dedicated effort into collecting supplies and raising money to boost literacy for the displaced children. 

“Most have been without schooling for months,” said Arabo of West Bloomfield, Michigan, who has continued to highlight the work of the TEACH group at recent meetings of the Michigan Board of Education, where she was named best teacher in May, and keys in on important educational issues on a monthly basis. 

The TEACH group just recently worked out a partnership with Michigan Reading Association to enable it ramp up its activities, and together, they have already perfected plans to collect and send out papers, pencils, pens, crayons, markers, coloring books, puzzles, non-battery-operated toys and Arabic books to give the displaced kids the much needed childhood education and tools that they need, but are unfortunately being deprived of. 

As another avenue for fund raising to get the much needed kits to cater to the welfare of the Iraqi children, the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy has partnered with “Help Iraq”, what appears to be a crowdfunding mission, via the TEACH program. 

With conspicuous donation buttons scattered around the site, with even an option to send in donation via check too, TEACH has been able to raise 100% of all $2,600 needed for school supply kits from 2 donors, while they are 57% in on a $3,400 effort for toy kits, 10% of $2,600 for clothing kits and 11% of $4,000 for female personal hygiene supplies. 

 Many of the Teachers and volunteers in the TEACH project are getting involved as it just happens to be a need closer to their hearts and professions as Teachers, while for some, it might be that they ties to Iraq, either through distant family relations or immediate family. 

If you would like to get involved in the laudable program being run by TEACH by way of donations, you can visit here for info on that. You can as well follow the official Facebook page of the group for updates.

By Alison Lesley

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