out book bags with school supplies for Iraqi schoolchildren during a combined humanitarian mission in the Faylaq neighborhood of Kirkuk, Dec. 22. Photo by Pfc. Jessica Luhrs, 1st Armored Division.
Joint mission delivers supplies to school
Wednesday, 30 December 2009 By Pfc. Jessica Luhrs
1st Armored Division
KIRKUK — To help with their education, three hundred Iraqi children near here in the village of Faylaq were treated to a surprise donation of school necessities, Dec. 22.
In an effort to improve education here, Iraqi Police and members of the Atyah Women's Organization (AWO), assisted by Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, donated the school supplies for the children.
This humanitarian mission was a part of a larger mission to reach out to the people in this neighborhood, said Hanna Hasan Husein, a leader with the AWO.
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Russell Raines, 30th Inf. Regt., whose platoon helped the IP and AWO members in delivering the supplies, believes these combined activities are important to stability in the region.
The progress the IP, AWO and U.S. forces are making in the villages can already be seen, according to Husein. The children are talking to the IP and Soldiers, laughing, smiling and sometimes even singing.
Humanitarian aid plays a huge part in the fight we are in now, said Husein. It allows the people to see the IP are here to also help them, not just to conduct raids or combat patrols.
Raines said it is important for the Iraqi population to see the IP and and U.S. forces conducting these types of operations which show that we are allies and not occupiers.
Raines also feels it is a welcome change of pace for him and his Soldiers to be able to help children.
“For everyone involved it is a powerful experience; through partnership we were able to improve the lives of these students,” Raines explained.
"The IP and U.S. forces mission here is the people of Iraq," he continued. "We want them to know we are all here to protect them and keep them safe. Throughout their time here, 1st Bn., 30th Inf. Reg. plans on assisting the Iraqi Police and AWO.”
According to Raines, U.S. forces, IP and the AWO will continue to deliver school supplies and other items needed by the students.
"This helps the community build a relationship of trust with the IP, and hopefully a better future," said Raines. (source)