Days in these mine-infested fields begin like any other, whether they will irreversibly alter someone’s life or not.
“A few days ago, we participated in the awarding of diplomas to new vocational training apprentices from our Rehabilitation Centre in Iraq. We are already on the 35th apprentice group, each made up of former patients who were disabled due to war. This group, however, had something special: all 18 students, among them, four women, came from refugee camps.
It is always easy to be moved by this occasion. The joy and self-confidence of the patients who finish the training programme make us proud. When one of them thanked us on behalf of the students, none of us were able to hold back tears. We clearly sensed the deep sincerity of his words. All of the students had spent a lot of time in the camps, unable to get things done due to their disabilities. Then, six months ago, they began to participate in our programme, and we saw them being reborn, putting all their will and energy into learning what we were teaching: sewing, carpentry, and working with leather, plastics, electricity, and hydraulics.
After the ceremony, we all went together to see some of the 10 new shops they will manage and that will open soon. Some of these were inside the camp, some outside. Our colleagues at the Rehabilitation Centre will help them get started, and follow them through the first months, so that their activity can begin as soon as possible and run as smooth as possible. We will soon see the results. We are convinced that this approach is making the difference; of all the 300 shop, cooperatives, workshops already opened, only a few have had problems. The most financially effective ones have even become small and medium-sized businesses.
“I want to thank everyone who has allowed us to continue our projects, so that we can see the results. Everyone of us has helped out, from all the volunteers to those who gave us economic support to bring our idea to reality. This was a day of celebration, for us, and above all for our students, who now have employment to support their families. Best of luck!”
– Giacomo, Programme Coordinator in Iraq