Al-Ayn (Iraq) has been at the forefront of looking after Iraq’s orphaned children for 12 years and in this time over 91,000 children have been supported. The children under our care are given the financial, educational, psychological and medical support they need as part of the Middle East’s most comprehensive orphan sponsorship package. But 12 years has also taught us that this is not enough. It is not enough for these children to merely survive. Our aim, and the aim of our patron Al-Sayyed Al-Sistani, is for them to thrive and become the leaders, professionals and future of our communities, raising secure families, developing strong communities and breaking the cycle of poverty and neglect that has defined so many of their lives. This is where the Hikayati (in English “My story”) centre comes in. Al-Ayn’s largest project to date, this will be a centre of personal development, education and psychological support for the children of Al-Ayn. It will provide detailed personal development, confidence and resilience building programmes for the children and will allocate to every child a long-term mentor who will act as an advocate and a point of call for any concerns.
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