In the early morning on December 25th, 2016 - while much of the United States and Europe was shut down for the holiday, HERA's team kept working. Black smoke scarred the sky on the road into besieged Mosul, a reminder that the battle continues to rage on. Hundreds of thousands of civilians remain trapped by the conflict.
So on Christmas morning, HERA's team brought something special. Along with our usual food, clothing and medical supplies, we came bearing Christmas cards and gifts for children. While our team distributed necessary aid, we also sought out young children to give them the cards and small toys, such as stuffed animals. The children of Mosul have been living under ISIS rule for the past 2 years and these cards were - for many of them - their first reminder that life exists beyond conflict. The faces of the children lit up, starting to play in the streets even as explosions rocked the block and the put-put-put of small arms fire continued. Children, as we continually learn, are resiliant.
HERA handed out these cards with no religious intent. Instead we were trying to bring joy and a reminder that the world does care about their troubles and that there is hope for the future.
Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, and best wishes from HERA.