Electric Dreams

Candlemas 2004

Jean Campbell

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Campbell, Jean (2004 January). A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE:
Candlemas 2004. 11(2).

Whatever Happened to the Aid for Children Project?

Many of you are aware that, several months ago, some members of the World Dreams Peace Bridge began to work on a project in response to the bombing of Iraq. It was called the Aid for Children Project. For a variety of reasons, which I'll discuss later, it has been difficult for us to be able to send packages to Iraq, but we seem to have attained SUCCESS AT LAST. This post is a thank you to those of you who have already contributed to the Aid for Children Project, and an invitation to all to join us now in sending therapeutic toys to the war-traumatized children of Iraq.

A Brief History of the Project

Back when we began, at the suggestion of May Tung, we chose to focus on something we felt that, as a small group of people, we could do...not send food relief or fix blasted fuel lines, but give some comfort to the more than seventy percent of Iraq's population, children under the age of eighteen. We talked on the Peace Bridge about stuffed toys, and the comfort they had been to us as children whenever other things went wrong. We talked about art supplies and other things therapists might use help the traumatized victims of war.

At first, we thought we would be able to simply buy items from the stores that UNICEF keeps in Turkey. We talked for several weeks, via email, with several UNICEF employees, only to discover that, unless we had at least $4,000, they could not deal with us at all.

Disappointed, we contacted UNICEF in Iraq, and were finally put in contact with Dr. Karzan Ali, who runs a clinic for children in the northern Iraq city of Erbil. We hit it off with Dr. Karzan right way. Again we communicated by e-mail while we tried to find a way to ship packages to him. He spoke of the possibility of coming to Turkey with his new bride. But again our attempts were foiled. Packages that Ilkin sent from Turkey were turned back at the border, and there was no way for our new friends to easily travel to Turkey. In fact, there was no mail bigger than letter size being sent to Iraq at all by private carriers.

Finally, a few weeks before Christmas, two different things happened. One was that May was able to make contact with a man from the US, who will be traveling to Iraq late in January. The other was that Ilkin took particular notice of a post from a woman in an online discussion group she was in. The woman claimed to know people who went in an out of Iraq on a regular basis. Thus was the contact with Kathy Kelly of Voices in the Wilderness (Voices in the Wilderness - Recent Updates http://www.serve.com/vitw/) established. Suddenly we had more than one contact who might be traveling to Iraq.

A three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Kathy Kelly has been witnessing the situation in Iraq since well before the current war, and in fact was in Iraq when the war began. She has graciously given an immediate and helpful response to any mail we have sent her. She informed us that people from Voices in the Wilderness travel regularly to Iraq through Amman, Jordan. She gave us the name of a contact there, who has generously agreed to keep packages until they can be taken into Iraq. And most recently, she directed us to the people who operate the Seasons Art School in Baghdad, who are working directly with orphans and other children traumatized by the war. An email from them revealed that, in addition to any other help we might be able to send, they were very much in need of musical instruments and music paper. We realized that music is as much a part of healing as the stuffed animals, paper, pencils and crayons we planned to send. And now, this week, $700 of the $1,300 so far collected by the Aid for Traumatized Children Project will go to Iraq in the form of purchase of toys, paper and a guitar.

A heart warming story

Even though we have not been actively collecting funds for the Aid for Children Project for a few months, primarily due to all of the uncertainties, nonetheless money has continued to come in, something which has kept us going during some difficult times. In November, the iMAGE Project's PayPal account received an interesting donation. Generally the message notice gives the name of the person who has made the donation. This time there was no name. Further exploration revealed that this was not just an anonymous donation. Three children, two of them eleven years old, one of them ten, had donated $300 to the Aid for Traumatized Children fund. How had three kids come up with all that money? It turns out that they made "butterfly knots" and sold them, donating the money to kids less fortunate than they were. Quite an inspiration, don't you think?

Want to help?

So that's the story so far. Even if you've helped this effort in the past, you might like to do it again. One hundred percent of all funds go to the children. We are all volunteers here.

Checks can be sent to:

The iMAGE Project
408 Elmhurst Lane
Portsmouth VA 23701

Donations are tax deductible. Your check is your receipt.

Or you can contact Jean Campbell at jccampb@aol.com for a PayPal account number to use a credit card.

The world is made from our dreams.

Jean Campbell, Moderator
The World Dreams Peace Bridge

Please join us in Candlemas 2004.

Everyone is to light a candle for peace on the 2nd of February, 2004.

It can be at home, or with friends if you wish.

Let us all choose to bring light against the heaviness in every country in the world.

If you take a photo or portray or write about your candle and your thoughts at the time and you are happy for those pictures and thoughts to be added to the 'Candles for Peace' online photo album, then please send your pictures and words to Victoria Quinton, email Victoria_Quinton@yahoo.com

Thank you.

The World Dreams Peace bridge is open to all people who dream of world peace: http://www.worlddreamspeacebridge.org or discussion group: worlddreams-subscribe@yahoogroups.com