Iraq - Giving something back

Giving something back

The concept of charity differs in each culture and both Iraqi officials and individuals will be affronted by any actions they perceive as patronising and interventionist. One of the best ways of travelling positively is to tell your family and friends about your trip to Iraq and disseminate accurate information about the country rather than the usual negative, one-dimensional impression favoured by the press. And while you are on your travels, redistributing some of your hard-earned cash in the bazaars and tea-houses of Iraq will improve the lot of everyone. Simply by coming and spending your money here you are helping.

Tea house Kurdistan Iraq by Eric LafforgueHead to a local tea house to give something back to the community © Eric Lafforgue

There are many local and international charities working in Iraq. These include:

International Rescue Committee 

Amongst many other things, the IRC rebuilds schools damaged by war and trains teachers, reaching close to 50,000 students at 130 Iraqi schools. They provide free legal assistance to thousands of Iraqi returnees and displaced persons, as well as to the growing Syrian refugee population.


The AmeriCares organisation remains dedicated to providing medicines and medical supplies to Iraqi civilians impacted by the war. It regularly sends medical assistance and other humanitarian aid with particular focus on internally displaced persons and those left physically impaired as a result of the wars and internal conflict.

War Child 

Conflict and violence in Iraq has hit the education sector hard. Teachers have very little motivation as their salaries are not sufficient to provide for their families and teaching resources are not available. As a result, even those children able to attend school are not receiving a high standard of education. To help overcome this, War Child trains teachers in subject knowledge, teaching methodologies and child protection.

The Marsh Arabs Heritage Project

The AMAR International Charitable Foundation (AMAR ICF) is a British charity that in 2012 launched The Southern Mesopotamian Marshlands: Reclaiming the Heritage of a Civilisation, an initiative designed to help rebuild the heritage of the Marsh Arab people after decades of neglect, violent military and environmental persecution and the virtual destruction of their unique way of life.


A UK-based charity was set up by former Royal Marine Pen Farthing in 2007 to relieve the suffering of stray and abandoned dogs, cats and other animals in Afghanistan and Iraq. While serving in Nowzad in Helmand Province in 2006, he broke up an organised dog fight, befriending one of the dogs and naming it after the town. After the tough challenge of getting the charity started he began a second career, helping other soldiers get ‘their’ dogs (and later cats) home, including those from Iraq. Nowzad has re-homed over 650 dogs to soldiers around the world, from the US and UK to Australia, Canada and even Africa, with more going to local homes.

World Wide Welfare

This organisation provides humanitarian assistance such as food and non-food items, sustainable cash assistance, health care and education to orphans and their families. In Iraq the number of orphans is more than 5 million, the number of widows is more than a million and the number of people with disabilities exceeds a million.

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