Seven Messages of Hope: Unity in Iraq During COVID-19

July 20, 2020

A family receives a life support package in Ramadi, Anbar governorate.

Iraq has been in a state of lockdown since March, and the novel coronavirus continues to spread through the governorates of one of the world’s most resilient nations.

Physical distancing has been touted as key to mitigating the spread of COVID-19, but connection to others, who are also experiencing the same circumstances and feelings of isolation, is vital. Phone calls, social media feeds, video chats, and following the news can increase feelings of connectivity.

During the continued food distribution campaign by UNDP Iraq’s Local Peace Committee members and Kurdistan Human Rights Watch, residents of Ramadi, Anbar Governorate, were interviewed. One question led to seven different responses from people of various ages and backgrounds.

What message would you like to share during this difficult time?

These responses are a reminder of the power of hope, the importance of health, and proof that above all, the people of Iraq desire peace.

Rabeha, 69 years old, is raising her two grandchildren.

“I consider myself a mother to all Iraqis, and I hope that God preserves our people and our country. I also ask God to grant success to those working in our province to assist the poor. The Iraqi people are a generous and helpful people, and they always stand together and unite during adversity.”

Akram, 50 years old, is a laborer who lost his job due to the curfew.

“Please follow health instructions during these difficult circumstances in order to maintain public safety. I ask all members of society to join hands and help each other to overcome this crisis and establish peace in all of Iraq.”

Sajaad is a 15-year old who lives with his uncle.

 “I advise all Iraqi children to wear masks to keep them healthy. Soon the pandemic will pass, and all children will return to playing and having fun.”

Jumaa, 49 years old, is a laborer who lost his job due to the curfew.

“Please remember hygiene practices and physical distancing in order for us to pass this dangerous stage. I hope that peace will prevail in Iraq.”

Suaad, 43 years old, is the matriarch of her household. (Pictured inside the gate with her children).

“I hope that communication and harmony between people will return, as it has been in the past.”

Hakim, 62 years old, is unemployed.

“My hope is that this very serious crisis will be resolved, and that life will return to normal. Inevitably, this crisis will end like previous crises. Hope is our goal.”

“Everyone must help the poor and the needy in these difficult circumstances. I hope that everyone will promote tolerance and peace will prevail.”

Noora, 38 years old, whose home is pictured above.

The distribution of food boxes, also known as life support packages, started in late April by Local Peace Committee members supported by UNDP in partnership with Kurdistan Human Rights Watch and with generous contributions from the governments of Denmark and Germany.

During distribution in Anbar Governorate, 2,300 families received life support packages. The goal of the campaign is to support 25, 000 vulnerable people.