In a country ripped apart by war for many years, children suffer under a regime of terror that continues to claim victims every single day.


Iraq has been beset by violence and instability since President Saddam Hussein was ousted in 2003. In the decade since various administrations have been in place - all of whom have struggled to maintain order and stability. Today government forces and armed groups - most notably Islamic State - are engaged in fierce territorial battles. Car bombs, assassinations and armed assaults are part of daily life in Iraq. 

The humanitarian operation in Iraq is likely to be the largest in the world in 2016. Military operations along the Anbar and Mosul corridors have already forced more than 280,000 civilians to flee . Estimates suggest that as many as 660,000 people will be displaced along the Mosul corridor by the end of the year. 

Children growing up inside Iraq suffer significant rights violations. A third of all Iraqi children are in need of humanitarian aid. More than half a million children are out of school. Figures from UNICEF show that some 3.6 million children are exposed to significant violent risks on a daily basis. Boys are at particular risk and often forced participate directly in the conflict, including as combatants or suicide bombers.


War Child joined a consortium funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a joint response programme in Iraq. The project, run together with War Child UK - our colleagues in London - aims to provide vulnerable children with protection and psychosocial support. We mainly focus on children from internally displaced families who've arrived in northern Iraq as a result of the violence.

There, in Kurdistan, we are currently working on safe spaces for refugees from Syria and Iraq. A place where children can engage with each other and be a child again. But also a place of healing with psychosocial activities, to help children deal with the traumatic events they’ve experienced.