Iraqi orphans face uncertain future

Poverty, lack of education and neglect blight lives of millions of vulnerable children.

    The Iraqi government says that there are 3.5 million orphans in Iraq; the UN estimate is around one million. 

    Noor Abdul-Rassoul Ali, of the Iraqi Orphan Foundation, estimates that there are about five million orphans.

    Whatever the true number, the children of war face an uncertain future, Zeina Khodr, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Baghdad, says, which could cause social problems for many more generations.

    Speaking to Al Jazeera from London on Saturday, Ali said that while a few orphans are being taken into orphanages, many are living on the streets.

    The Iraqi government is currently only able to assist about a million so; the remaining four million children are receiving no aid, Ali said.

    She also said that only one in a thousand children receives more than just food and shelter. "Psychological scars are very deep and education is key," she said.

    Unfortunately, some children as young as 10 years old need to work to support their families.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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