For every child who is killed or injured by the guns and rockets of war, there are countless others whose futures are silently but tragically curtailed.
Children like 13 year old Zainab. She lives with her family in a poor neighbourhood in southern Iraq. Her parents struggled to make ends meet in the devastated economy and they were forced to pull Zainab out of school so she could look after her disabled sister at home.
That’s how it happens — a child drops out of the system and they effectively become silent and invisible.
But in Zainab’s case, one of the teachers at her old school was part of the local Child Protection Committee we had set up. It’s made up of local teachers, policeman, councillors, parents etc. They’re trained to identify vulnerable children within their community and alert the relevant authorities.
The Committee liaised with local social services and another charity we work with. They’ve provided Zainab’s sister with a wheelchair so she can get around on her own. We also persuaded the school’s head teacher and Zainab’s parents to let her go back to school.
It’s a simple story with a simple solution and a happy ending. These Child Protection Committees are a vital part of most of our projects — doing the advocacy work that helps kids get their voices heard and their rights met. It’s not as tangible as providing school books or medical care, but the results it delivers can be equally life-changing.
Just ask Zainab.