Iraqi-American Teenager Raises Thousands in Support for Iraqi Orphans in 100-Mile Bike Ride

Elias Eldadah, an Iraqi-American high school student, raised over $7,500 for Iraqi orphans this month by organizing a 100-mile (161 km) bike ride in the Washington, DC area.

Joining him in the cause were his teammates and friends – Michael LesStrang, Jake Shue, and Aidan Ortiz.  The four riders began at 4am (11am Baghdad time) Sunday morning, August 2, 2020, and finished approximately 8 hours later.

We are fortunate to live far away from the pain that children no different from us have to endure daily, and we wish to do our small part for them,” Elias and his team said in launching the two-week GoFundMe campaign.

The fundraiser caught traction so quickly that its goal was raised multiple times from the original $1,000.  Even as the race ended, donations continued to roll in.  The final total reached $7,650.

Elias (pictured above right) is the Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) Youth Liaison for the Washington, DC area.

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The Iraqi Children Foundation intervenes with love and hope in the lives of children at risk of abuse, neglect, and exploitation by criminals, traffickers, and extremists.  It does so by providing legal protection, psychosocial services, nutrition, and education to orphans, street kids, and other vulnerable children.  For more information, visit www.iraqichildren.org.

(Source: ICF)

By Aymen Salman, for The Station. Re-published with permission by Iraq Business News.

As the impact of the health and economic crisis ravages, the world start-ups are trying to overcome the economic difficulties they face; these projects face an existential threat that has damaged many companies around the world.

Despite the pessimistic circumstances, we can find many start-ups trying to adapt to the new reality by opening up to new activities or providing new services.

One of those projects is Science Camp (The Iraqi Maker Space), which is the Iraqi version of the Global Maker Movement. The maker space is a space and community of “makers” that provides an optimum environment for tech-innovation and entrepreneurship.

Science Camp was founded in 2013 by Nawres Arif in Basra, to recreate Iraqi society from technological, economic and cultural aspects. Science Camp’s community consists of innovators working in different fields.

The infrastructure and the friendly maker culture has made Science Camp, a unique space for innovators and “out of the box thinkers” to share new ideas freely and test it practically. It’s the first and only Iraqi Fab Lab (Fabrication Laboratory) 1 on the global Fab Labs map. Since the first wave of COVID-19 that hit Iraq, the Science Camp team started to think of how to use their makerspace to support the Iraqi health sector by keeping up with the needs of those at the frontline.

This assistance has come in the form of producing, designing, testing, and distributing more than 10,000 face shields freely for medical staff in Basra and other 6 cities in Iraq. They have also supported locals making more than 17,000 face shields in Tikrit in collaboration with Tikrit University. They have also shared their designs with 6 countries until now.

In addition, the team at Science Camp in an attempt to maintain jobs in the local private sector (particularly local water factories), Science Camp has successfully 3D-printed spare parts to be used in the local water factories as a replacement for the imported parts, which are unavailable because of supply chain difficulties due to the COVID-19 crisis. In the meantime, they are reverse engineering those parts and using the maker movement’s digital fabrication & 3D printing.

Science Camp has given everyone a great example of how to adapt to quick changes, and how to turn obstacles into opportunities. With their efforts and ambition, they definitely will play a tremendous role in empowering the youth of Basra.

More here: https://www.facebook.com/Iraqimakerspace%20%20/

The Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF), the United States’ largest charity devoted exclusively to advocacy and support for Iraq’s children, premiered today a fresh, impactful design and message for the cause.

ICF Board Chairman Mohammed Khudairi explained:

Today, we reintroduce ourselves to Americans and the international community with a fresh voice. For over a decade, ICF has intervened with love and hope in the lives of children who are vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and exploitation by criminals, traffickers, and extremists. 

“We have invested in life-changing education, legal protection, psychosocial services, nutrition, and other support for the most marginalized children: orphans, street kids, children displaced by war, child laborers, and disabled kids.  We are now standing with them in the face of new dangers from COVID-19.

Liz McRae, Executive Director, said:

We started this process in early 2020 and poured our hearts and souls into creating a new image that would accurately depict who we are at our core, as an organization. As COVID-19 began to dramatically impact the world and our work, we doubled down on our efforts to refocus on our organization and the way we do things.

“Our mission and vision are strong, and we recognized the importance of the right tools to communicate messages driving real and meaningful change. We are committed to ‘thinking big’ to address the critical need for orphans and street children in Iraq, now more than ever.

ICF’s voice for Iraq’s children is reflected in the visual identity the organization debuted today.  It reflects a modern, bright, optimistic and inclusive outlook, focused on the deepest needs of children to belong to their family, community, and nation.

This idea is presented in the graphic pattern, with four elements surrounding the map of Iraq: the sunshine symbolizing hope, growth in the form of the date palm leaf and fruit of Iraq, and water marking the Euphrates and Tigris rivers which represent the historic position of Iraq as the seat of civilization.

The tagline – Protect. Nurture. Empower. – codifies ICF’s core mission to ensure all children are safe, have a voice, and are empowered to reach their full potential.

* Cuneiform inscriptions based on the ancient writing systems of Mesopotamia.

That mission – to protect, nurture, and empower – is manifested in ICF’s projects in recent years, including a “Street Lawyers” project providing legal protection and aid to more than 1,200 children and securing legal identity documents needed for school and nutrition and other benefits for 1,300 children.

Social services – including services for mental health, ending abuse, stopping child labor, and medical care – have been delivered to 1,006 children.  Two child-friendly and colorful “Hope Buses” in a desperately poor neighborhood provide tutoring and nutritious meals to empower an average of 100 orphans and street children each school day.

Some of these initiatives have been seriously impacted by COVID-19 related curfews in Baghdad and other obstacles to service operations.

ICF is a non-partisan, non-sectarian tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charity with top Platinum status on Guidestar.  It is also listed on the U.S. government’s workplace giving platform, the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC #95191).   Board and Advisor leadership includes veterans, former Ambassadors, top U.S. child welfare experts, Iraqi-American professionals, and business executives.  ICF initiatives in Iraq are executed with competent, trusted Iraqi NGO partners who know local communities and urgent needs best.   ICF relies on both private and corporate donations to make this work possible.

Learn more about our work and donate at www.iraqichildren.org, or contact ICF Executive Director Elizabeth (Liz) McRae at liz@iraqichildren.org

(Source: ICF)

You are invited to help IBBC and World Bank to introduce Iraqi SME’s to FREE business training courses

WHEN: 29th June, 6pm to 8pm Iraq time

Please share this free business training initiative and the course registration with any SME in your network, however small, and encourage them to sign up.

Arabic version for sharing with your contacts here
WebEx Link: Join Using WebEx

YouTube Livestream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxeuaarijuE

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has been asked by the World Bank to support them in the promotion of business resilience and training courses for SME’s in Iraq.

The driver behind this initiative is to give Iraqi SME’s support to ride out and survive the business effects of COVID-19 pandemic and the effect it has particularly on the smaller businesses in the economy.

The support is in the form of four free business training courses that SME’s can take via Webex or Youtube, provided they sign up.

As a partner to the World Bank, IBBC is contacting our Chambers of Commerce and Union contacts, and those businesses we can alert.

The courses cover four topics :

  1. Business Planning.
  2. Accessing Finance.
  3. Communicating.
  4. Thriving.

We recognise that your suppliers are most likely to be already well prepared, but if there are some who may be finding the current economic climate challenging, these courses will provide a good sense check to best practice.

Please follow this link for the WebEx how-to manual in English

Please follow this link for the WebEx how-to manual in Arabic

Please let us know if there are any further questions by contacting london@webuildiraq.org

We very much hope that your teams will be able to share these courses with your supplier and business ecology.

(Source: IBBC)

The Iraqi Cabinet held its regular meeting in Baghdad on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

At the start of the meeting, the Prime Minister outlined the challenges facing the country in relation to Covid-19 and the Iraqi government’s efforts to combat the pandemic and provide support to health institutions and medical teams.

The Prime Minister called on all Iraqis to follow the directions of the Higher Committee for Health and National Safety, and to follow official health advice for their own safety and that of all Iraqis.

The Cabinet discussed recent protests in relation to grievances to do with the Ministries of Defence, Education and Electricity. The Prime Minister directed ministers to engage in a dialogue with the protesters in order to reach realistic solutions commensurate with their demands and with the difficult challenges facing the country.

The Cabinet discussed current economic and financial challenges, and the necessary measures to encourage and promote investment in Iraq’s economy as a key driver of growth and of job-creation.

Following further discussions, the Cabinet decided to:

  • Allow students at stage 3 of intermediate education to progress to stage 1 of secondary education based on their half-term exam scores
  • Authorise the Minister of Health and Environment to take all necessary measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic
  • Consider combatting the pandemic a competency of the federal government, and falls within the general policy of the state
  • Provide the necessary support to expedite the completion of hospitals in Dhi Qar and Maysan provinces

(Source: Govt of Iraq)

By Adam Lucente for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Criticism mounts in Iraqi Kurdistan over unpaid teacher salaries

Ferhat is an English teacher at a public school in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Region.

His salary comes from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), but five months into 2020 he has only been paid his monthly salary twice. Payment problems over the years forced him and other teachers to take on second jobs.

“It’s very difficult for us,” Ferhat told Al-Monitor. “Each one of us has to work after school to live.”

Click here to read the full story.

By John Lee.

Iraq and France have agreed to cooperate in the field of electronic education and e-learning.

The agreement was announced after the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Nabil Kazem Abdel-Sahib (Nabil Khadim Abd Al-Sahib), received the French Ambassador to Baghdad, Bruno Aubert, and his accompanying delegation.

The Minister said that e-learning in Iraq opened an important window with the countries of the world, expressing his hope to develop this trend with French universities.

For his part, the French ambassador stressed the importance of coordination with the Ministry of Higher Education, pointing to the French president’s support for Iraqi students and the organization of contexts of understanding between Baghdad and Paris.

The two sides agreed to develop cooperation mechanisms in the field of electronic education and generalize the experience of the digitization project presented by the French side to Iraqi universities.

(Source: Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research)

By John Lee.

Iraq and France have agreed to cooperate in the field of electronic education and e-learning.

The agreement was announced after the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Nabil Kazem Abdel-Sahib (Nabil Khadim Abd Al-Sahib), received the French Ambassador to Baghdad, Bruno Aubert, and his accompanying delegation.

The Minister said that e-learning in Iraq opened an important window with the countries of the world, expressing his hope to develop this trend with French universities.

For his part, the French ambassador stressed the importance of coordination with the Ministry of Higher Education, pointing to the French president’s support for Iraqi students and the organization of contexts of understanding between Baghdad and Paris.

The two sides agreed to develop cooperation mechanisms in the field of electronic education and generalize the experience of the digitization project presented by the French side to Iraqi universities.

(Source: Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research)

Iraqi-American NASA Astronaut, Jessica Meir, has sent an empowering message of support to kids on the Hope Buses in Baghdad, all the way from the International Space Station!

In light of the current global crisis, this message reminds us that our family is so important and also bigger than we think; it’s a time where we really need to come together to support each other from all corners of the earth, and beyond!

In her message, Astronaut Meir encourages Iraqi kids by saying “reach for your dreams and believe that they can come true“; this message is extra special as one of our recent Hope Bus students has big dreams of becoming an Astronaut!

The Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) has announced that, due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, it has made the difficult decision to cancel its annual “In Their Shoes” 5K run, originally scheduled for June.

In a statement, the ICF also renewed its call for donations to help it support Iraqi children and their families:

Dear friends,

At ICF, our highest priority is the health and safety of Iraqi children, and of our community of wonderful supporters around the world. With this in mind, and considering the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our “In Their Shoes” 5K in June this year.

While we are disappointed that we will not get to meet in person in June, we need your support now more than ever. Iraqi children and their families face many of the biggest challenges imaginable, now including the rapid spread of COVID-19.

We are committed to continuing to support these children with essential services including healthcare and nutrition, and we will continue to update you with how we are responding to the ever-evolving challenge of the current pandemic.

Please watch this space for more information about how you can support and help us grow our community. We look forward to staying in touch virtually for now, and we will look forward to seeing you for our “In Their Shoes” 5K in 2021.

We will be in touch with anyone who has registered online for the 5K already to outline next steps. If you have the capacity to donate at this critical time, please click the button below. Thank you for your ongoing support; together we will continue to work to protect the vulnerable orphans and street children of Iraq.

With love,

The ICF Team