Kurdish Mountain Chai is a locally owned and operated business based out of Louisville, Kentucky.
Their commitment? To brew the best cup of tea you’ve ever had and to save lives while doing it.
For every pack of tea Kurdish Mountain Chai sells, a dollar goes toward another lifesaving heart surgery in Iraq.
Now, who wouldn’t toast to that?
We at the Preemptive Love Coalition are partial towards charitable businesses. After all, it’s how we first started saving lives with Buy Shoes. Save Lives. back in 2007.
A pair of handmade shoes. A glass of well-brewed tea. Another business that cares. These are some of the reasons we’re able to save another life this month.
Have a charitable business idea of your own? Write us at info[@]preemptivelove.org and let us know how we can partner with you!
|Cody Fisher is the co-founder and Development Director of the Preemptive Love Coalition. He moved to Iraq in 2007 where he met his wife and since then they've been waging peace and mending hearts across Iraq. His passions are photography, peacemaking, and food that doesn't come out of a can. You can follow him on Twitter:
The month of Ramadan is an important time in the Muslim world with its emphasis on communing with God through fasting, praying, and giving to the poor. As a group based in Iraq, most of the people we interact with
here—friends, neighbors, coworkers, surgery kids, etc.—are Muslim, and most of them observe and celebrate Ramadan.
With that many people caring about it around us, it’s no surprise that we have grown to care about the month as well. We see it as an opportunity to reestablish what we have in common: a love for God and a desire to care for needy children and their families. This video offers a unique glimpse into our community here and why we want to partner with you this Ramadan in saving children’s lives.
To join us in caring for these children, please consider helping us save a life this Ramadan by funding medical supplies below!
Donate a surgical supply kit to save a child’s life this Ramadan.
|Hailing from Hong Kong, Monique's background in film and communication make her the perfect choice for our Video Intern position. She is spending her summer documenting life in Iraq through writing and videography, helping with office administration, and—inshallah—teaching the entire PLC staff how to make delicious Chinese dumplings!|
Right off the bat, I got to be a part of something awesome here in Iraq.
I joined PLC’s groundbreaking research in the city of Dohuk in Iraqi Kurdistan. Many reports in recent years claim that there are more heart defects in Iraq than other countries in the Middle East. In Fallujah, news reports state 10 times more birth defects than the world average. However, these numbers are based on general observations, not a systematic study. Is it possible that doctors who only see sick children would think there are many more birth defects than there really are?
The best way to find out if there are more kids being born with broken hearts is to count all the children who are born, then see how many have heart defects are detected. That way, the number of healthy babies can be compared to the number of babies with defects to get an accurate ratio of sick to healthy babies. This is exactly what we did in the city of Dohuk.
Alongside long-time friend and partner of PLC, Dr. Kirk Milhoan and Dr. Serdar Pedawi, I was a part of a research team working to identify the heart defect “incidence” or number of new cases of babies born with heart defects out of all babies born over a certain time period. We set up camp at Azadi Teaching Hospital in Dohuk, and every child that was born came to us to be screened for heart defects.
This was done using an echocardiogram (ECHO) machine, which is similar to an ultrasound that allows pregnant mothers to see their babies. It provides a way to look at the heart from the outside, quickly and painlessly. All children born in Azadi Hospital during the week of the study had to be screened in order to obtain their birth certificate, so we were able to screen more than 180 kids!
Each individual encounter was very similar. The moms were usually too worn out from childbirth to bring the babies to us (understandably so!). It fell to the grandmothers and aunts to take care of the newborn while mom got some rest. It was beautiful to see how much love and care was shown to each baby we screened. They were all wrapped tightly in brightly colored clothes and tucked into what I can only describe as a fancy baby sleeping bag.
The children truly lived up to the phrase of “bundles of joy.” The pride and joy of family members was evident, but with it came the anxious fear that their baby could have something wrong with their heart. Immediately at the time of the screening we could tell the family the result of the ECHO.
Thankfully, the vast majority of children had completely normal hearts and their family was always relieved and ecstatic to hear the good news. But there were some babies who did indeed have heart defects. Some had leaky heart valves and others had holes in their heart. Assurance was given to the families that these were not immediately life-threatening emergencies, but that their baby needed to be checked again in a few weeks to see what kind of treatment would be needed to live a normal healthy life.
Dr. Serdar works full time as a Pediatric Cardiologist in Dohuk, and thus will take care of these babies directly. Research can sometimes be all about collecting numbers, but this research heavily emphasized providing practical medical care for those who were found to have heart defects.
It was an absolutely incredible experience to interact with the Kurdish and Arab families in Dohuk as well as to be a part of a first-ever scientific study. It was very fulfilling to contribute to the gathering of facts, which is a large part of why I’m pursuing a Master’s in Public Health. Having solid facts puts Preemptive Love Coalition that much closer to eradicating the backlog by treating kids who need lifesaving heart surgeries.
This research is the first step in providing information for the Kurdish Regional and Iraqi Central Government and any other organization that wants an answer to the question: how many Iraqi children are being born with heart defects?
|Alicia Lay is a Texan, foodie, and atypical medical student who is interning as a medical researcher as she works towards her Master’s in Public Health. She is passionate about international medicine, surgery, public health, and Iraqi children. When not in a hospital or doing research on the computer, she enjoys taking photos, reading about global health, and singing the day away as if her life were a musical.|
Grandmothers; they’ll pinch you, they’ll squeeze you, and they’ll always hold you tight.
Our recent screening mission in Dohuk saw a constant stream of grandmothers caring for their newborn grandchild as the weary mothers rested. And for that, I salute them. They are truly fantastic women!
A Kurdish grandmother poses with her grandchild after learning the child was free of any heart defects.
A Kurdish Yazidi grandmother rewraps her grandchild after the child’s screening—no heart defect found!
These grandmothers were incredible at caring for the newborns. This one kept her grandchild distracted during the screening.
|Kendelyn is a 2012 summer intern who LOVES taking photos, and you can find her strolling the streets snapping shots of anything from flowers to friends to googly-eyed stuffed goats. She's excited to be working in Iraq this summer as PLC's photography intern and looks forward to learning more about its culture and people.|
April 26, 2012 by matt · Comments Off
Former short-term staff member Lydia O’Neil just released her documentary from her time in Kurdistan! In it, she takes a behind-the-scenes look at what Kurdish girls really think about boys, family-expectations, and shame. Check it out!
|As Communication Director, Matt Willingham spends most of his time trying to get the word out on PLC's work in Iraq. On the side, he likes reading stories, devouring the great food his wife cooks up, and DSLR camera work. He's also mildly obsessed with Twitter: @mehtin.|