To provide advanced water filtration units to communities in need, where they can make a significant difference in the quality of life for the children of Iraq, especially.
clean drinking water! it's More than a drop in the bucket! it's better health and better lives!
Let’s call this little girl Ameera.
Let’s call this little girl Ameera. We don’t actually know her name. Ameera attended a school a few years ago that was selected by Iraq Water Project for installation of a water sterilizing unit. Our technician cleverly posed her holding an oversize thank you note and with the spanking new sterilizer alongside. We have shamelessly exploited that charming face in our project advertising ever since.
alSarmed school is our most recent school water project.
Last summer our Iraqi friend, water engineer Faiza alAraji, received a request from a school in Baghdad. This school, called alSarmed (mixed boys and girls), is located in an impoverished area on the outskirts of the city. Somehow, in spite of all manner of difficulties, staff at this underprivileged, poorly provided school raised funds sufficient for a nearly complete rebuild and refurbishment. We have to think that a substantial part of the costs came from among the teachers themselves and other staff members. After a lot of work they reopened the school, now boasting previously unavailable resources, but one that was still missing was clean drinking water. Hence the request.
Faiza was very much impressed with these people and asked Iraq Water Project if we would consider furnishing a reverse osmosis unit for this benevolent institution. Who could say no to that? Installers from the Youth and Student Organization of Nasiriya, an NGO we have cooperated with for years, sent a team up to Baghdad to place the unit. Some photos of their work are included below.
The Nasiriya team also had requests from three other Baghdad area schools and suggested units for all of them, if we had sufficient funds. Unfortunately we did not. Sad to say, contributions to this project are not what they used to be, but we are still going, and will keep going and going even if the going is slowed. IWP was able to place a unit at a second Baghdad school, Yafa School for Girls, and you will see pictures here from that installation, carried out by the Nasiriya team on the same trip.
The water situation in Iraq is a disaster throughout the country, and you may have read about last summer’s violent protests in Basra. One of the undeniable grievances at the forefront of these demonstrations is the chaotic and dangerous state of public services—wretched, contaminated water strutting like a drum major at the head of this sorry parade. Thirty thousand people were hospitalized from water borne pathogens in Basra last year, and that is just one city. We don’t pretend to understand the Gordian knot of Iraqi politics and we certainly don’t have a reliable map of the country’s religious and racial layout, but Veterans for Peace cannot help pointing out that a huge chunk of this disastrous mess is a direct descendant of US foreign policy and military intervention. That one is on us.
Besides the water unit installations—some 170 over the past few years—IWP also attempts follow up maintenance. The above mentioned Nasiriya NGO has been delegated for this aspect, and a few photos of typical work are also appended here. We have asked them to go ahead and service any water units in their area of operation, regardless of who placed them. Go wherever the need is most urgent.
Cute little Ameera is probably seventeen or eighteen years old now. We hope that the small ultraviolet water unit placed in her school back in 2009 helped keep her healthy as she grew up. But nothing is guaranteed or even predictable in modern “liberated” Iraq, Ameera lived in an area overrun by ISIS in 2014, and so of course we can only hope for the best.
Veterans for Peace always wishes the best for people like Ameera and for other Ameeras everywhere. The Iraq Water Project is a durable expression of that wish.