Abdullah and Hasan are the two AUIS students from Mosul, who are working to gather AUIS students to help rebuild the education system. Abdullah Zainulabdeen is a student of the Academic Preparatory Program, he joined AUIS because he believed that he can make a change. To him, AUIS is a place where he can speak his mind, “it reshapes my personality”. Abdullah is the founder and CEO of Volunteer With Us, an organization that aims to rebuild the Iraqi society one city at a time. The organization works on many projects across the country through teams located in different cities. In addition to education, their work also deals with relief and community development. With the support of his team, he is currently working on a project called “Tomorrow, we Graduate”. The goal of the project is to provide bags and books to students in Mosul. They hosted a Back-to-School festival in Mosul on October 5, 2017, and invited students and their parents to receive school supplies. . “We want to share hope with one thousand orphans in Mosul,” he said, “so we took the responsibility and have accepted all the challenges to go forward with this festival.” He urges students to support their campaigns either through volunteering with the team and donating money, or simply spreading the word by sharing their posts on social media. Hasan Ahmed is a senior engineering student at AUIS, working with a local NGO called Youth and Student Association for Development (YSAD). The organization works on developing Iraqi youth into future leaders. So far, YSAD helped clean and rehabilitate over 200 schools. They also helped restore over 2,000 books at the central library of the University of Mosul. On his recent visit to Mosul, Hasan saw what the city had become: “When I visited Mosul for the first time in three years, in July, I was very sad to see devastated buildings, houses, and streets everywhere. I wanted to help with anything to make my city look better.” Hearing about YSAD’s work, he joined their effort in rehabilitating the city. The NGO is self-supportive and needs help in reaching out to the international community. Hasan, hails from Mosul and is able to translate in English, he decided to help. “AUIS gave me the chance to learn English which most people wish to learn,” he said. He calls for AUIS students to help where they can, “If anyone could help in connecting those local youth NGOs with foreign NGOs, it would be great and appreciated!” Both Abdullah and Hasan urge AUIS students to contribute in any way they can. Follow the Volunteer With Us Facebook page to find out how.
Sulaimani, Iraq - Jun. 16, 2011 - The first annual Volunteerism Week at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani ended today after three successful events encouraging AUIS students, staff and faculty to become more involved in the Sulaimani community and celebrating the service of the dozen returned Peace Corps volunteers who now work at AUIS. The week kicked off on Tuesday with Hoops for Hearts, a charity basketball game, followed by a clean-up of the Qelyasan River with local NGO Nature Iraq, and ending with an Hoops for HeartsInternational Food Cook-Off. Hoops for Hearts and the International Food Cook-Off were both fundraising events, which raised 1,160,000 ID, or around $1,000 USD, for the International Children’s Heart Foundation to perform a life-saving surgery in Sulaimani. “Usually when I play basketball, I play for myself and I forget about everything,” said Beyan Salah Tahir, and International Studies major from Erbil and a member of the AUIS women’s basketball team. “But during Hoops for Hearts, we were playing for something more important than ourselves. Throughout the game, I kept remembering the children we were raising money for and they inspired me to play my heart out.” “It was a really great privilege to be a part of this experience,” said Hussein Aladdin, an Information Systems and Technology major from Baghdad whose biriyani took second place in Cook Offthe Cook-Off. “It fed my soul, and made me think how great it is when people cooperate with each other to change someone’ life. I am really surprised about the generosity that people showed.” The funds raised by AUIS for the International Children’s Heart Foundation will help pay for a life-saving heart surgery for a local child to be performed this fall. The ICHF is an international NGO that provides heart surgeries to children around the world without access to proper medical care. The ICHF has performed twelve surgeries in Sulaimani in the past. River Clean upAUIS also partnered with Nature Iraq for the Qelyasan River Pick-Up. Nature Iraq is an NGO that works to preserve Iraq’s natural resources. About a dozen students, staff and faculty teamed up with four representatives from Nature Iraq to clean up a section of the Qelyasan River that is being polluted by trash and those using the river to wash their vehicles. Over the course of an hour, volunteers hauled away two truck-loads of garbage. "It was an interesting and useful experience," said Miriam Waleed, one of the students who took part in the river clean-up. "I always enjoy teamwork, and it is important to dedicate our time to preserving our environment for future generations." AUIS currently employs eleven former Peace Corps volunteers who served for two years in communities around the world. Peace Corps is a U.S. government organization that promotes volunteerism. For more information, please visit the Peace Corps Web site at www.peacecorps.gov.