University of Raparin sits at the outer edge of the city of Rania in the Kurdish area of Iraq. As you drive into the city, the first thing you see are large billboards with portrait pictures of soldiers – visual tributes to the many sacrifices the city has made to fight outside forces that would destroy it. Talk to a few of the residents and you will learn more of what these sacrifices looked like to families and the entire community. This is a city that has seen pain and violence up close.
I had heard about the city and university months before I finally got a chance to visit. Several colleges merged together eight years ago forming what is now the university. It is a public university and proudly boasts two campuses and various different colleges, among them the English language center and the College of Nursing.
My husband and I had been invited to go and meet with leadership in the university to find ways that we could come alongside them as they grow and expand. I quickly fell in love with an area and a group of people who are making a difference in their corner of the world, despite incredible challenges. Media portrayals of Iraq paint a dangerous picture of a war torn area. In fact, the Kurdish region is a beautiful area that has worked hard to rebuild infrastructure and the health care system in the face of these obstacles.
As a nurse, I was honored to sit with faculty of nursing and learn more about their plans and dreams. Despite limited equipment and financial setbacks, they have a passion to build the field of nursing and strengthen the entire health care system. In this process they long for people to come alongside them. The resilience and hope among faculty is remarkable.
Strong nursing programs are foundational for both public health and primary care. Building this program is critical for the health care system, both now and in the future.
This campaign is designed to raise money for three separate projects.
Building Student Capacity:Three students (two female and one male) from the nursing program have had a paper selected to be presented in Johannesburg, South Africa on gender equality in the region. This is an incredible honor, but they need funds to go. The first $5000 dollars of this campaign will provide airfare, hotel accommodations, and money for meals for the students to attend the conference.
Timeframe: If these funds are not raised, the students will not be able to go.
Equipment for Simulation Lab:Any nursing program relies heavily on up to date equipment and simulation models. Equipment is expensive and needs regular upkeep. The second $5000 will be used to create simulation labs with state of the art simulation models.
Timeframe: 3 Months. Classes begin in mid-September.
Continuing Education for Faculty:The Faculty of Nursing at University of Raparin are passionate and dynamic. They function like a supportive family. But they need help! They want to improve their skills, they want to attend continuing education in other places to learn best practices, they want to have visiting scholars come and teach them, and they want to bridge barriers and create ongoing collaborations with nursing programs in the United States, Canada, and Europe. $5000 will be spent creating three programs: First for visiting scholars; second for a first ever March conference inviting nursing faculty from all over Kurdistan to network and learn together; third – for faculty to attend educational programs outside of Iraq.
Timeframe: 1-6 months. Classes begin in mid-September and faculty must plan for time away. Also, scholars in Europe and the United States need time to prepare and get permission from their institutions. Conference planning is beginning now with a tentative date of late March.
Why should you help?
Millions of dollars are raised every day by people in Western Countries. Some of those projects are valuable and create lasting programs; others benefit individuals. This small project has the ability to make a significant and lasting impact in the region. Walking alongside these student nurses and the faculty is an amazing opportunity to partner in the region. The Kurdish region of Iraq has gone through untold tragedy at the hands of others, yet, the hope and resilience is evident throughout this College of Nursing. Every single summer, thousands of western high school and college students send out requests for funds so that they can go on 10-day to two week service projects. While a wonderful way to watch students expand their world view, it doesn’t create sustainable programs. Investing is this project is a way to walk beside people in the Kurdish region of Iraq. It’s a unique project for a unique group of people.
How do I know my funds will be used appropriately?
First and foremost, this fundraiser via Go Fund Me went through many levels of vetting (more than the typical Go Fund Me campaign). Many checks and balances have been put in place and the exploratory process was intense.
You can rest assured that the funds will be used appropriately because you will get updates that the students went to Johannesburg. You will see copies of receipts for plane tickets; you will see pictures at the conference they attend. You will see a document and stories of visiting scholars. You will see pictures of equipment and receipts of items purchased for the simulation lab.
Would you think of donating today? As shared in our introduction article about the Triangle Impact Initiative, if you feel led to donate, please join together with other Triangles around the world in giving no more than $25 (and then share the news with others!).