Iraqi Children Receive Christmas Gifts

by Weam Namou

This morning I received an email from Shlama Foundation telling me what my and others’ contributions were spent on. With a combined $680 donation, the foundation was able to deliver 550 Christmas gifts to displaced children on December 29th.

On one hand, that brought a smile to my face. On the other hand, I thought, “I should have donated more than a hundred dollars.” My children received a number of unnecessary gifts for Christmas, many of which they used for only a day or two.  We should have used that money to give to the Iraqi children. Such an act would have been more rewarding and my children would have learned a valuable lesson about the job of giving.

Shlama Foundation was founded in August 2014, after tens of thousands of Christian Iraqis fled ISIS and were forced to live in refugee camps in the Kurdistan region. One of the founders, Noor Matti, lives in Iraq. He had come to Michigan when he was six years old. As an adult, he applied to pharmacy school and was accepted, but decided instead to return to Iraq.

Shlama means “peace” and the foundation has established a secure system that not only shows where the money went, but creates a relationship between donor and recipient. On their website, a spreadsheet shows the name of the donor, the amount given, and a link to a YouTube video that portrays how and for whom the money was used, with photos of the receipts. In each video, the recipients express their situation, thank the donor by name and address how the money has touched them.

I interviewed the members of this organization last year, during which time Matti told me his feelings about the situation in Iraq. “Better days are ahead,” he said. “As a nation, we hit rock bottom. So, there’s nowhere to go but up.”

Learn more at Shlama.org

Shlama Foundation

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