It is now more than eight years since Iraq was liberated from the tyrannical regime of Saddam Hussein. Dr Bayan Al-Aaraji, who has been helping for twenty years is disappointed that the country still requires charitable organisations to help the victims of war and terrorism.
She set up a charity, World Wide Welfare, in 1993 to help the Iraqi refugees on the Iraq- Iran border in the aftermath of the brutal crushing of the popular uprising in 1991. World Wide Welfare has now extended its work to Kosovo, Afghanistan and Palestine but Iraq, with more than five million orphans and more than a million widows and disabled people remains the focal point of its activities.
“Misery and neglect haunt the orphans of Iraq,” Dr Al-Aarajisaid. “They continue to witness horrible scenes and turn out to be the first victim.” The story of Sahib Abbas creates a penetrating flash of insight into the plight of hundreds of children. On 1st November 2009, the twelve year old boy from the southern city of Karbala got into the taxi that took him to school every day. He never arrived.
An explosion shattered the car and killed many of his class mates. Abbas was left with severe injuries to hisright leg, shrapnel in his skull, nose fracture and injuries to his ears. In the end his right leg was amputated and he remained in hospital for a year. The doctors knew he needed an artificial leg so he could walk again. The costs of getting an artificial leg in Jordan were exorbitant.
Sahib’s family resorted to governmental authorities and religious bodies to help them as the prostheses he needed was not available in Iraq. They all had one answer: “Wait.” The family waited patiently for a long time and their mental anguish increased day by day.
Their friends advised them to contact charities but only World Wide Welfare responded by calling on generous donors who paid for passports, visas, the trip to Amman and the first operation. A temporary artificial leg was fitted and his attending doctor advised him to practice with this leg for six months. But he would still need a permanent leg to accommodate his growth.
The family now faced another dilemma. How to get the money for a second permanent leg? Sahib’s mother contacted World Wide Welfare which raised the funds through a charity night on 12th March 2012. The family travelled to Amman where Sahib was fitted with his permanent leg on 13th July, 2012.
He had a surgical operation on his nose which was fractured by the explosion. This was causing difficulties in his breathing. Abbas is one the few lucky children who received the medical care and attention which should have been provided in Iraq, a country which has the world’s fourth largest oil reserves.
To donate to World Wide Welfare visit: www.worldwidewelfare.org