Displaced Children's Education Initiative
2023 Humanitarian Mission | Ranya, Iraq

School supplies including backpacks and stationary were donated to more than 400 displaced children.

Above: Members of IID unload school supplies donated by Veterans Rebuilding Life and Without Borders.

Veterans Rebuilding Life responded to a request from local authorities in the Ranya district of Iraq’s Kurdistan region, to assist displaced children gain access to education.

The town of Ranya, situated near the northeastern border of Iraq, has experienced an influx of Iraqis fleeing from ISIS since 2014, along with Syrian refugees. Many refugees and internally displaced Iraqis are unable to return home because their towns have been reduced to rubble, in addition to the regions ongoing political tensions.

This situation has strained the already impoverished town, which is also a frequent departure point for irregular migrants vulnerable to human traffickers. According to the Associated Press, approximately 7,000 people attempting to cross to Europe in search of a better life have fallen victim to human traffickers in the Raparin district, which includes Ranya and the nearby town of Qaladze.

However, many wish to remain in their home country and provide the best possible upbringing for their children. This is where VRL and its partners, the Iraqi Institution for Development (IID) in Mosul, Iraq, and the California-based nonprofit Without Borders (WB), have stepped in.

VRL, IID, and WB responded to a request from the Dept. of Education in Ranya to provide school supplies, including backpacks and stationary, to approximately 400 impoverished children who are not currently attending school. Their families were displaced to the Ranya district due to ethnic and political tensions arising from the aftermath of ISIS.

On their part, the Dept. of Education is distributing the school supplies to this new influx of internally displaced children, with the condition that their parents ensure their enrollment in school for the entire academic year.

“It has been our experience that children are less likely to drop out of school once they’ve been in the system for a whole academic year,” said Ayad Saleh, founder of IID.

We express our gratitude to our donors for helping us enroll 400 children in school, where they can both learn, and heal from their traumas.