Building a Culture of Peace in Iraq

ICAE was involved in two projects in Samawa with Al Arfan a small civil society organization in southern Iraq whose focus, like ours, is on children, human rights, education, and culture.

Trading toy guns for soccer balls.

Soccer balls for Toy Guns

Soccer balls for Toy Guns grew out of concern about children's play: using toy guns they re-enact the war and violence they’ve seen around them. The organization set out to provide and support positive activities to replace these games, inviting children and young people to turn in their toy guns, in exchange for soccer balls. The first exchange was modest, giving away thirty balls. They were overwhelmed by the response to the second exchange. More than 150 children and teenagers showed up.

Supporting Education

ICAE helped repair and furnish a school in Diwaniya that serves about 160 children. The school needed basic repairs : fixing water pipes so bathrooms can be installed, and basic furniture: tables, desks and chairs and fans for the hot weather.

ICAE recognizes that beyond education, schools help support families especially in emergency situations. And schools support and facilitate community by providing an after-school-hours meeting place for individuals and organizations.

Kids waiting to turn in toy guns pose with banner: "NO to the violence"

Things arriving for the school

The banner says the name of the organization, Al-Arfan.