About Iraqi Children’s Hope

Mission & What We Do

Iraq is an unstable country with many widowed women, vulnerable orphans and children in need. 

The causes are diverse; among them are poverty, war, terrorist attacks, and resulting consequences of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship which caused many deaths and unstable families due to the death of one or both parents. According to the latest estimates of the Ministry of Planning, there are more than 700,000 orphans throughout the country. Children who lose one or both parents face a life that is bleak, leaving them with no parent to feed them, no mother to wipe their tears, and no one to keep a roof over their heads. 

Another at-risk population, widowed women, face the daunting of supporting their families without proper education, job skills, or knowledge of how to enter the world of employment. Single mothers are faced with caring for families without the vital resources to do so, meaning it becomes nearly impossible for them to provide food and shelter for their families.

  • Many children in Iraq are coerced into the “worst forms of child labor” as identified by the International Labour Organization (ILO). These include recruitment into armed conflict, use in illegal activities such as drug trafficking, forced begging, domestic work as a result of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
  • Growing poverty in Iraq has increased the number of parents forced to give their girls up for marriage.
  • More than 575,000 Iraqi children worked instead of going to school in 2016.
  • Approximately 75 percent of Iraqi children ages 5 to 14 attend school, but attendance rates are unevenly distributed among governorates. Up to 90% of children are out of school in governates which have experienced violence. 
  • Problems such as poverty, lack of education, and the shortage of economic opportunities increase the likelihood of child labor. Children living in rural areas are more likely to work than those living in cities due to the stark divide in poverty levels. About 39% of people living in rural Iraq live in poverty while only 16 percent of urban dwellers are impoverished.
  • ISIS has consistently used children as suicide bombers and soldiers.
  • The worst forms of child labor can have negative physical and psychological effects on children. Because children are still developing, they risk stunted growth and physical atrophy as well as behavioral issues from performing physical labor at such a young age. Performing hard labor in industries such as agriculture also involves working with dangerous equipment, carrying overly heavy loads, and using dangerous chemicals and pesticides. Being exposed to violence and cruelty as a young child also results in psychological problems.

Iraqi Children’s Hope (I.C. Hope) focuses on making a positive long-term impact for Iraqi orphans and  families by helping them to thrive educationally and economically, thus improving their quality of life and their hope for the future.