In 2021, the doors opened for Hope for Communities to begin going into some of the local government orphanages in the Sulaymaniyah. There are a number of different orphanages, organised by the age of the children and, after the age of 5, their gender as well. We have been able to go into these homes every week and offer different activities and support the home and the children in different ways.
Because the children in the youngest home (0 to 5 year olds) aren’t yet in school, they don’t regularly have the opportunity to leave the orphanage. With the support of the orphanage, we aim to take them out every fortnight to places such as soft play centres and zoos. On alternate weeks, we stay in the home our team bring activities, toys, and books to read with the children.
Our team also go into the home for boys between the ages of 5 and 12 every week, although we always leave tired! We have introduced various activities which were initially challenging, as they were so new for the boys but now they have learnt to engage with and benefit from them. An example of this is story time, which initially made the staff in the home laugh at that all 20 boys would sit and listen to a story, but we now read a story each week during a snack time and we have even had some of the boys themselves reading the story to the others.
The activities in each home differ greatly depending on age. Our team going into the home for the boys aged 12 to 18 had to be resourceful to be able to build friendship and trust with a group of young men in this age group. Initially it just involved being in the home, playing uno, video games and chatting. We then, through conversation with the boys, realised they would value going outside of the home, and so have done lots of different activities, such as going swimming. We’ve even managed to teach some of the boys to swim!
Spending time with these amazing young men inspired to start two whole new projects as a charity, which you can read about in the sections ‘Apprenticeship Programme’ and ‘Hope Hub’.
As the time that we have been going into the orphanages has increased, and the managers and staff see real differences in our staff and how we are working, there is demand for us to increase our level of involvement. We stepped in when some of the children were struggling with school and our staff went in to offer some tutoring and support. We were also invited to provide training for all the staff working in the homes, which was hugely significant for us, being able to have more impact on the children in the orphanages by training their regular caregivers to improve their everyday experiences.
We have been asked to provide more training and
support, and we have been asked to increase the time spent in the various
homes. Your donations will make it possible for us to be able to do this.