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The Development and Relief Foundation
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For the last 60 years, Iraq has been torn apart by dictatorship, war, violence, corruption and poverty.  Be a part of our team by helping us fight poverty, lack of education and extremism in Iraq.

Facts about Iraq:

  • 40% of Iraqis are 14 years old and under
  • 30% unemployment rate
  • 35% of women are illiterate
  • 5 million orphans
  • 2 million widows: 50% of them are between the ages of 19 and 29
  • 4 million refugees


Our Focus:

  • To bring back children to classrooms
  • To provide quality education and financial support for the orphans and less fortunate children
  • To provide nutrition and nourishments for the needy, especially families with children
  • To provide sponsorship for the orphans
  • To provide income generating training for widows.
  • To empower young women through education and training
  • To provide health care for the underserved
  • To provide financial help and services to refugees
  • To fight extremism through education, awareness and services
  • To bring healing and hope to broken hearts for a promising future

Elementary and Intermediate Schools Offer Quality Education for Orphans

Development and Relief Foundation has established modern, fully equipped elementary and intermediate schools for orphans in Karbala for a total cost of $850,000. The elementary school started operation October 2007 with 14 teachers and staff members. Currently there are 260 male and female students enrolled in the school. The intermediate school started operation September 2008 with 80 students and 7 teachers and staff members. All students enjoy nourishments such as milk, juice and fruit every day during the learning hours.

There are five buses that provide safe transportation for students from/to home. Iraq lacks basic healthcare facilities and services. Decades of negligence, the recent war and violence have made many healthcare facilities outdated, non-operational, or over-crowded. Most current hospitals and clinics lack medicine, equipments and/or supplies.

The city of Karbala has a population of 900,000 residents. More than ten million visitors travel to the city every year. The city's hospital was built in the 1950 with 200 bed to serve a population of less than 150,000. Currently the worn out hospital cannot cope with the medical services needed in the city by its residents and visitors.

Therefore, DRF decided to undertake the responsibility of providing the city with fully equipped and specialized hospital to meet the needs of the residents and visitors.


Facts about Iraq History

Iraq's history dates back to more than 5,000 years ago when the first civilization on earth appeared between the two rivers, Tigris and Euphrates. It is known as the cradle of human civilization, the birth place of Patriarch Abraham, and the center of the Islamic civilization.

  • The old name of Iraq is Mesopotamia, a Greek word meaning between two rivers.
  • These rivers sustain large areas of irrigated agricultural land and one of the most populated regions in the Middle East. Iraq is second only to Saudi Arabia in rich oil reserves.
  • Temperatures Temperatures range from below zero Celsius (32 degrees F) in the winter to higher than 52 C (126 degrees F) in the summer.
  • Total area: 169,235 sq miles / 438,317 sq km - slightly more than the size of California
  • Coastline: 36 miles - 58 Km
  • Population: 29 million (UN, 2007) 40% are under 15 years old
  • Major languages: Arabic, Kurdish
  • Religions: Muslim 97% (Shia 65%, Sunni 32%), Christian and others 3%
  • Ethnic Groups: Arab 80%, Kurdish 15%, Turkoman, Assyrian or others 5%
  • Literacy: Male 85%, Female 65%
  • Unemployment Rate: 40%
  • Electricity: Average hours of electricity/day: 2-4 hours


Iraqi Civilian War Casualty

It is unclear how many Iraqi lives have been lost since the invasion in 2003. The Iraqi government does not keep precise records of civilians killed and neither do the US forces. Estimates of civilian deaths vary greatly. Some figures focus on those who have died as a direct result of the violence, some estimates include deaths blamed on other causes, such as the collapse of Iraq's infrastructure.

In November 2006, Iraqi health ministry estimates ranged from 100,000 to 150,000 dead. This contrasts with a survey of Iraqi households in the Lancet, which suggested about 655,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the war by July 2006.



Violence and terrorism made many Iraqi families abandon their homes and move to other areas within the country that are dominated by their own religious or ethnic groups. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said the total number of internally displaced persons was about 2.4 million.

The United Nations' refugee body says the number of Iraqis living beyond the country's borders as refugees is about two million.


ICU Saves Lives at Karbala's Children Hospital

DRF provided a grant of $90,000 to Karbala's Children Hospital to build an intensive care unit (ICU) and pediatric cardiac echocardiogram. This unit was built in 2007 in a relatively short time. DRF was directly involved in the construction of the building to cut costs and save money. Building such unit through government's agencies would sharply increase the cost.

Karbala is home to about 900,000 people. Karbala's Children's Hospital has 220 beds and is the only healthcare center that provides medical treatment to Karbala's children and it young visitors. The hospital constantly gets over crowded with patients. Until recently, the hospital lacked an intensive care unit.

Dr. Alaa Al-Anssary, the head of the hospital, said during the opening ceremony, "With this gift from DRF, the hospital will be able to save many children's lives."

Horizons Institute

Fighting poverty and empowering women are some of the Development and Relief Foundation's objectives. DRF has established its first vocational school that offers income generating skills for low income individuals, especially women. At the moment, the Horizons Institute offers computer training classes and tailoring skills. There are plans to offer cosmetology and culinary courses in the future as funds become available. Women who learn tailoring skills may work independently at their homes and earn an income to support their families. Individuals who learn basic computer skills improve their opportunity to be hired.


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