CPT Iraqi Kurdistan has begun a project, â€śBringing Hope and Fun,â€ť to
work with children in the Arbat IDP camp, just outside of Sulaimani. Led by our intern, Alicja Zasadowska,
and aided by the local organization STEP, we were able to create an activity for
the children of the camp.
them to draw a picture and write a story explaining the best day of their
lives. The twenty-five children we
were working with ranged in age from five to fifteen. For many of them, grief and horror has
become a central part of their lives. People often ask them to reflect on these difficult things as
they tell their stories. However,
Alicja wanted them to share about something happy, so that they could practice
cultivating good memories even in the midst of their trauma.
faced some resistance as she spoke with others about her intentions to have the
children draw and write about happy moments. One father told her, 'My children know nothing of joy; this
project will not work.' Some of
the staff at the camp warned her that 'these children do not have happy stories
to tell.' Another NGO questioned
why we would want to share happy things, when sad stories influence people much
more. However, her focus was not
on others but solely on the children.