As Iraq is going through an economic and health crisis, CHF Vitas Iraq aims to offer support and advancement to the underserved low-income segments of the Iraqi society, by improving their life conditions and providing access to basic necessities including food. To support this cause, CHF Vitas Iraq carried out a humanitarian initiative by distributing 200 food baskets in Sulaymaniyah in coordination with the provincial government. This activity comes as part of CHF Vitas Iraq’s major response campaign against the virus, which features streets’ sterilization activities in several Iraqi cities, as well as equipping hospitals and emergency response units with the required medical essentials.
Within the framework of supporting the state’s efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus pandemic, CHF Vitas Iraq launched its major initiative to sterilize residential and commercial areas in all governorates of Iraq after prior coordination with the General Directorate of Civil Defense and the Crisis Cell in each governorate. Our organization has provided them with sterilization materials previously approved by specialists, specifically the CBRN team of the Civil Defense that specializes in epidemics. The campaign included the capital Baghdad, with its Al Karkh and Al Rusafa neighborhoods, Al Najaf governorate specifically the Old City, and the Holy city of Karbala including the Hindiya and Al-Hurr districts. Despite the risk, our team fearlessly entered areas with existing Coronavirus records and completed the mission during late-night hours, placing their national and humanitarian duty first.
As a part of the campaign launched by the CHF Vitas Iraq to help in the spread of Coronavirus, the foundation initiated a plan to educate the community and guide them by spreading awareness on the measures that decrease the risk of getting infected with the virus. In direct coordination with the Iraqi National Response Team on Intervention during the spread of pandemics and the Iraqi Civil Defense team, the awareness campaign included the printing and distribution of 360 large banners that describe the correct methods of prevention of corona contagion in a clear and simple manner. The banners were installed in key locations across all provinces of Iraq.
The corona crisis hit Iraq hard, imposing lockdown in major cities and exerting pressure on the healthcare sector all over the country. As medical facilities and municipal services are essential to sustain overall continuity, Vitas Iraq set a new objective to support these organizations with a series of humanitarian initiatives. The first event was carried out in Hilla, Babylon province, where a team of Vitas Iraq staff set off to distribute healthcare kits including 20000 facial masks, 12000 medical gloves, 64 medical costumes, 100 liters of alcohol, 25 liters of medical disinfectants, and 16 laser thermometers to several hospital ECU units. A part of the facial masks was also given out to local security forces divisions, who are working hard to enforce order in these critical times. In recognition of this initiative, Vitas Iraq team was invited to participate in the Babylon Crisis Unit conference that was held in the Hilla main municipal hall, where measures aiming to contain the spread of the new Corona virus were examined and established. The unit consisting of the Governor of Babylon, the Chief of Babylon Police, the Director of Babel Health Sector and many other key local figures set our organization as an example for its active social role within the government and society in the face of crises.
In coordination with the Technical Institute and Vocational Training Center in Babylon, CHF Vitas Iraq sponsored a series of "Business Innovation” training courses for fresh university graduates. The courses objective was to equip the attendants with the skills that would enable them to plan, open and manage their own projects and enter the labor market in an effective and successful manner. These courses are part of a series of youth development and skills building courses conducted by CHF Vitas Iraq during 2018 and 2019 in order to and build the capacities of the Iraqi youth.
For eight consecutive years, CHF Vitas Iraq has been honoring a group of distinguished borrowers during the holy month of Ramadan by inviting them to Iftars across all branches of the institution. Each year, the event takes on a different character. In 2018, we invited and honored the borrowers who received 10 consecutive loans from our institution. In 2019, we invited the winners of our social media Ramadan contest, and had the opportunity to meet them and exchange conversations and success stories. The yearly Ramadan Iftars are a way of celebrating and expressing our appreciation and gratitude to our borrowers, through the success of whom we feel the pride of achieving our goal of serving the Iraqi society and improving its overall economic situation.
Mother is the symbol of unconditional love, and in an attempt to praise her, and emphasize the importance of working women as family supporters, CHF Vitas Iraq started a tradition of celebrating and honoring our female borrowers on Mother’s day on a yearly basis. The events vary from year to year, from by inviting them to festive ceremonies at our branches, to paying them surprise visits at their project locations with symbolic gifts and certificates of appreciation. The honored borrowers are diverse; widowed female clients, who despite the loss of their breadwinner, succeeded in supporting their families due to their strength and determination, women with special needs who face challenges in securing the basic necessities of life, and owners of very low income projects. In the year 20015, we presented them with handmade gifts, made by the students of Al-Huda Institute for the Deaf and Mute in Baghdad. The joy of the mother borrowers during the events was heartwarming, as our teams were greeted with joy and words of gratitude in the presence of their children in a pleasant atmosphere.
Under the slogan "Together to support the educational journey", CHF Vitas Iraq had the honor to contribute to the support of the educational sector in Iraq, by equipping public schools in poor condition, lacking basic necessities such as furniture and boards. For this campaign, 5,000 desks were exclusively produced in local Iraqi factories, and distributed to approximately 250 schools during the years 2017, 2018 and 2019 across the majority of governorates. The schools were selected based on the pre-assessment of their actual needs, carried out by our field teams. Moreover, a large number of locally produced whiteboards were also distributed, to cover a fraction of the actual devastating shortage in all public schools in Iraq, especially in the remote, rural areas.
CHF Vitas Iraq has established a reputation of a devoted supporter of the Iraqi educational sector, through its campaigns of equipping and sponsoring various local colleges and technical institutes. One of these was the Department of Digital Media at Dhi Qar University, which was equipped with 10 laptops with advanced specifications. Another was the Technical Institute in Babylon, which was supported by the opening of two exemplar classrooms, containing advanced learning tools such as smart boards, displays, laptops and 50 student desks.
As a part of CHF Vitas Iraq’s campaign to support the Educational sector in Iraq, and responding to the appeal made by the management of the Noor Al Hussein Primary School in Baghdad, which hosts approximately 850 students, including a class for students with hearing and vision disabilities. Our organization fully equipped the special needs classroom with a specialized smart whiteboard and a display screen, in addition to utilities such as a laptop, printer and learning desks. Moreover, we also provided the school with new water filters, large size water coolers and office furniture.
We at CHF Vitas Iraq believe that the Iraqi youth plays a major role at serving the country and shaping its future, and for this reason we seek to support and encourage this segment in every way possible. One of these attempts lead to the establishment of a series of events under the slogan “Creativity is the secret of excellence”, in which the top performing students of the primary, secondary and university levels who achieved the highest results in the government exams, were honored in special ceremonies. These resonating events took place in the provinces of Babylon, Baghdad, Najaf and Basra on the span of the years 2013, 2015 and 2019, and where attended by numerous local government and community representatives and media figures. Top students were honored with shields and presented valuable prizes such as laptops and ipads.
Throughout the years, CHF Vitas Iraq has become known for its nationwide efforts to contribute to the improvement of the life reality of the struggling segments of the Iraqi society such as the orphans, deaf and mute, and people with other disabilities through continuous support campaigns. Various learning supplies and equipment such as furniture, electrical appliances, smart boards, and laptops, were provided to numerous institutions such as Orphanages in Samawa, Babylon and Baghdad, Al-Amal Institutes for the deaf and mute in Basra, Nasiriya, and Kut, the Hearing Impaired Institute in Najaf, and many more.
In our ongoing effort to serve the Iraqi youth and the special needs segments, CHF Vitas Iraq sponsored several festivals and ceremonies, honoring these segments. One of these was the Iraqi Special Needs Day Festival in Nasiriya, where athletes with physical disabilities were provided with sports equipment and armor. This initiative was greeted with sincere gratitude and appreciation, as athletes were deeply touched by our institution’s consideration and support. CHF Vitas Iraq also sponsored the Creativity Week, which was established by the Faculty of Arts, Department of Media - University of Babylon, where we provided the festival with logistics materials, as well as honored the creative students from the Department of Media in the presence of a number of government and social figures. Finally, and most importantly, CHF Vitas Iraq sponsored the Arab Orphan day celebration in several orphanages across Samawa, Babylon, Baghdad and Basra. During the events, numerous gifts were given to the orphans (clothes, watches, games and sports equipment) in the presence of local government representatives.
CHF Vitas Iraq distributed more than 2,000 food baskets containing more than 14 basic food items to the displaced families in some IDP camps including Arbat camp in Sulaymaniya, and Al-Jada'a camp in Mosul. These initiatives received wide support and admiration of local communities, governments and media channels who’s representatives attended and covered the distribution events in those areas.
Based on our humanitarian and social mission, CHF Vitas Iraq has equipped several vocational rehabilitation institutes for the deaf and mute such as Al-Huda Institute for Vocational Rehabilitation, Yarmouk Vocational Rehabilitation Institute in Baghdad, and Al Hanna Institute in Sulaimaniya. The workshops in these institutes were equipped with all the necessary tools and raw materials that ensure the continuation of their work .
CHF Vitas Iraq distributed nearly 5,000 food baskets containing more than 14 basic food items as a one of a kind initiative to help and support the poor, widows and people with special needs in order to lend them a helping hand and alleviate their suffering. The distribution campaigns took place during the years 2014, 2105, 2016, 2017, covering all Iraqi provinces from Northern Iraq to the South, starting from the province of Sulaymaniya to the province of Basra.
The Youth and Sports sector gained its share of attention from CHF Vitas Iraq due to its important role in building a promising and healthy generation that would contribute to improving the future of Iraq. The fact that this sector includes a wide range of Iraqi segments of society is the cornerstone of building the homeland. Our organization has expressed its support for this category, by sponsoring the Olympic Week of Athletics held by the Directorate of Youth and Sports of the province of Babylon, where is honored and praised its talented participants. CHF Vitas Iraq also held sports marathons in Babylon and Najaf, which gained wide popularity and witnessed huge participation amongst the local youth.