Iraq: Dohuc Iraq is currently our diaper program center.
Until the whole Covid-19 uproar, Erbil was the center of our work with the diaper program in Iraq. Erbil is also the center of Kurdish administration of their sector of Iraq.
This is an autonomous region in Iraq comprised of four Kurdish-majority governorates, or states. They are Dohuk, Erbil, Halabja, and Sulaymaniyah.
The Kurds are 97% Muslim, with the vast majority being Sunni Muslim. The Christians and the Shia Muslims in the area are mostly of Arab descent. Many in this area share DNA with Europeans from the time of the crusades.
When the Sunni Muslim Islamic State invaded the Kurdish area in 2014 to rob and kill Christians, they thought the Kurds would welcome them. But the ethnic solidarity of the Kurds brought them together to fight the Islamic State.
The displaced Christians fled to Erbil, and most of the work we did in Iraq centered around the Christian IDP camps there. I started the Diapers for Refugees program after seeing the horrid cases of diaper rash at a mobile medical facility. At the time, tens of thousands of Christians were IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons), with many living in unfinished buildings.
During that period, we delivered hundreds of thousands of disposable diapers because there was no hot water and no way to wash cloth diapers at IDP camps.
As Christian families moved back into their destroyed homes in the Nineveh Plains, we moved the program to their villages. Hundreds of thousands of diapers for babies and toddlers were distributed to take the financial burden away as families tried to rebuild. At the same time, the adult diaper program grew by assisting the needy elderly and those with war injuries or disabilities.
In Iraq our main distribution center is now Dohuc where there are many impoverished Christian families who were financially unable to return and rebuild their homes. We continue to distribute both infant and adult diapers in the Dohuc area, the home of what is left of the Assyrians.
Unlike the Kurds who surrendered to Islam and gave up their faith when Muslim invaders took over the last of what is now Iraq back in 638, the vast majority of Assyrians kept their faith. In Dohuc, the diaper program is administered by an Assyrian aid society and various evangelical churches.
Although most Assyrians have migrated away from northern Iraq, they still have a strong presence there, and virtually all are Christians.
The West Bank: The Diaper program supplies mostly diapers to the elderly in the “West Bank” towns of Bethlehem and Beit Sahour. There are many impoverished Christians families living in the place of the birth of our Lord, as the area is now controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Again, I remind everyone that Bethlehem is not in Israel now.