5 million orphans, about 15% of the Iraqi population consists of orphans. About 5 million of these children have little or no support other than the kindness of neighborhoods, mosques, and families. There are about 15 government orphanages housing around 500.
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The trauma of losing their parents is often compounded by the fact many witnessed their deaths. Six years of carnage have left many of them with serious sleep disorder, PTSD, depression and anxiety disorder, social phobia, and an inability to function successfully.
[See the video from Al Jazeera on URUKNET]
As people return to their homes many children who have occupied them illegally are forced into the streets. Some 5 million are now homeless, making do in night-by-night shelters in abandoned buildings, alleys, and the like. Garbage collection is one of their major occupations. Living day by day they seek sustenance, shelter, and safety.
Decades of problems will follow. Thos social services burden will persist. The current burden is beyond what the government is capable of handling, and don't forget: Al Qaida in Iraq finds these children good recruit candidates since having no family makes them amenable to offers of membership in the larger family of Al Qaida.
International Rescue Committee has several programs for orphans and students in Iraq.
UNICEF's work in Iraq
includes health and nutrition programs for young children and mothers
along with water and sanitation, psycho-social care, and early
learning. UNICEF supports a program for the reintegration of street
children and children deprived of caregivers in Baghdad -0 including
orphans and runaways. See complete information about how to contribute
to UNICEF's work in Iraq at www.unicefusa.org/iraq.
Or you can call them directly at 1-800-4-UNICEF.
Or write them at:
U.S. Fund for UNICEF
333 E. 38th St., 6th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10016
No More Victims is an independent non-profit organization that works with children in Iraq.
Childhood Care and Sponsorship Organization in Iraq also works with children in Iraq.
USAID is an independent federal government agency that receives overall foreign policy guidance from the Secretary of State and does some work with Iraqi orphans.