Texas This I Know...

Texas This I Know...
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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Operation Iraqi Children, or Good News From Iraq

Operation Iraqi Children: Mission Statement
Actor Gary Sinise and author Laura Hillenbrand founded Operation Iraqi Children, a program that will enable Americans to send School Supply Kits to Iraqi children. This is a worthy effort that individuals can get involved in. Read the tease below then check it out!

Sinise, Hillenbrand and the organizers of Operation Iraqi Children believe that the benefits of this program will reach far beyond the recipients of the supplies. By bringing Americans and Iraqis together and demonstrating American devotion to the welfare of the Iraqi people, the program can foster understanding between our nations and generate goodwill between Iraqis and American soldiers. "Every time a box of school supplies is delivered by our troops it will be another small victory for them in helping win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis," says Sinise. "It is a beautiful way to begin a relationship with the future leaders of Iraq. They have been forgotten for so long. Now there is a chance for them."

The Need. During and after Operation Iraqi Freedom, American soldiers passing through Iraqi villages were horrified at the squalor of Iraqi schools, which had been severely neglected under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. Corralled in sweltering one-room buildings without air conditioning, fans, windows, solid floors, or even toilets, Iraqi students lack even the rudimentary supplies that American children take for granted. Libraries and books are almost nonexistent. Without these basic tools of education, Iraqi children face an uphill struggle to learn. "Imagine sending your child to a school in which there are virtually no books, no pencils, no paper, no blackboards," says Hillenbrand. "This is the reality for Iraqi children. The future of the Iraqi nation is being squandered for lack of basic school supplies."

Moved by the plight of these children, many American soldiers have taken it upon themselves to help. Unfortunately, the need for help is so great and widespread, encompassing some 1,500 schools, that our soldiers' efforts cannot possibly answer the entire problem. The situation is critical. "The future of Iraq lies in the education of its children," says Hillenbrand. "We owe it to them, and to the hundreds of American men and women who gave their lives to bring them freedom, to give these children the basic tools of learning."

The Answer. Inspired by their conversations with Operation Iraqi Freedom soldiers as well as Sinise's recent tour of the region, Sinise and Hillenbrand founded Operation Iraqi Children, a grass roots program to provide concerned Americans with a means to reach out to Iraqi kids and help support our soldiers' efforts to assist the Iraqi people.

Through the School Supply Kit Program, American children, church groups, and other organizations can help Iraqis by gathering school supplies in local drives, assembling them in kits according to our instructions, then sending them to Heart to Heart International for transport to Iraq, where our soldiers will take them to Iraqi villages.

OIC Links
School Supply Kit Program
Good News From Iraq
Media Center

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