A worrying development on this past visit was the significant sense of frustration with the Aid Agencies and the d
ifficulty of translating their pledges into reality on the ground. USAID and UNDP were seen as being genuinely helpful. However, the huge increase in funding promised by the Trump Administration in Washington – the HR390 funding – had simply not materialised. Other countries had promised aid and then the money had dried up as soon as a Minister had visited and the photo opportunity taken.
With this in mind the Foundation is pleased to be supporting Aid to the Church in Need when the Archbishop of Erbil, Bishop Warda visits London next month. We want to ensure that his message is heard at the top of UK politics, to try to ensure that more is done to directly support the communities in need.
On our recent trip, in the rebuilding of Tesqopa, we heard of how UNICEF forbade the rebuilding of the local school unless under their supervision. When the day came for the opening, it was discovered that they had repainted all of the walls, but that the interior was a burnt-out shell. Fr Salarkajo told a meeting of UK Parliamentarians about this disgrace and got an apology and the school was soon refitted.
Fr Aram was more reticent about criticising the Aid organisations. However, he did tell us, with a wry smile, that there were 3680 foreign NGOs registered in Iraq. He then very eloquently turned to face the map of his devastated village, still ruined two years after liberation.