Khaluha Ajmal volunteers hand out gifts to Mosul’s children for Eid al-Adha. Photo: Khaluha Ajmal
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A local group of volunteers in Mosul, calling themselves “Khaluha Ajmal” in Arabic meaning “Make it More Beautiful”, worked tirelessly through the Eid al-Adha holiday to distribute donations of food, toys, and clothes to some of Mosul’s most vulnerable for the first time since ISIS took over the city in 2014.
Volunteers took the risk of bringing donations to west Mosul, the city’s right bank, where many ISIS explosives have still not been cleared. They were determined to bring happiness to some of those who suffered under the extremist group, including approximately 100 orphans.
“As we were distributing meat on the right side of the city, an explosion went off about 100 meters away from us,” volunteer Mustafa Khaled told Rudaw English on Tuesday.
“It scared us, but people from Mosul are used to this,” Khaled said, adding, “But we continued to serve the poor.”
Khaled, a 21-year-old University of Mosul Computer Engineering student, said there were between 25-30 volunteers, ranging in age from 12 to 30 helping the group that depends 100 percent on individual donations.
“One person donated 200 food baskets which we distributed to poor families,” Khaled explained. “And another person asked us to slaughter four cows and distribute the meat among those affected by the war, so we did.”
The donations are making a difference to the people living in the scarred city.
“One man told me this was the first time he would have meat to eat in over two years,” Khaled stated.
The group also held a campaign prior to Eid to collect clothes, toys, and food for approximately 100 orphans.
Clothes were distributed to the children on the first day of Eid while toys were distributed at a free fair the city sponsored on the first night of Eid.
The group’s volunteers dressed up to hand out the toys and entertain the children.
“With the joy of orphans, our people are complete,” a statement from the group’s Facebook page read.
Khaluha Ajmal started out as an independent youth campaign to clean up Mosul and help their community. It was originally established by Omar al-Saraty as a Facebook group in January 2017 following the liberation of east Mosul.
However, it’s a group effort, Khaled explained. They depend on volunteers to carry out other projects around Mosul, including the restoration of the University of Mosul’s Ibn Khaldun Center Library last month.
“We want to serve our city and our community,” Khaled said. “We want to help rebuild what has been lost.”
Photo Credits: Mustafa Khaled, Yaser Ahmed, and Laith al-Dabagg