Monday, March 06, 2006

Operation Iraqi Children: A Bright Shining Hope

If you've never taken a look at Michael Yon's blog (now Web site), you're missing a lot. He's a free-lance writer who embedded himself with our troops in Iraq, and thus has a boots-on-the ground perspective on how things are going. This particular post is really moving and enlightening on how things are going in the humanitarian effort to save the Iraqi kids and win the battle for the hearts and minds of the people there. Link to help at the bottom. Read it all.

The Iraqis nurture their children, and although some could definitely use better medical attention, the most profound and far-reaching help that the average citizen of a developed country can do for Iraqi children is to facilitate their education. These kids are the greatest hope for improving the region, and while some far-thinking people see this, I have yet to see a library in an Iraqi school.

I’ve seen the U.S. Army hold medical screenings, build schools and playgrounds, deliver sporting gear, and so on, but much of the help for Iraqi kids is coming from Joe Citizen, who has never been to Iraq, through a program started when one not-so-ordinary citizen traveled there and saw the immediate need.

While on a USO tour of Iraq in 2003, Gary Sinise recognized the potential as well as the plight of these children. Once back in the United States, he joined forces with a couple of smart and good-hearted people, Laura Hillenbrand and Mary Eisenhower, and took action to address the educational needs of Iraqi kids. In what he describes as “a few breathtaking and exhausting weeks,” these three dynamos organized Operation Iraqi Children(OIC).

Gary often remarks that it was the experience of watching school children trying to learn in squalid conditions with few books or school supplies that moved him to work with Mary and Laura, pooling their clout and resources to form Operation Iraqi Children.

FedEx delivers to several cities in Iraq, including Baghdad, Mosul, and Balad. To their great credit, FedEx ships for Operation Iraqi Children all the way to Kuwait, free of charge, and has been doing so ever since OIC’s inception in April, 2004.

For those who wish to bolster the morale of our troops while enhancing the educational experience of Iraqi kids, please visit the OIC website, and put that good will into action.

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