June 30, 2010 by Preston · Comments Off
As a doctor, decisions that affect a person’s quality of life come with the job, and this is no different for our local cardiologist, Dr. Aso Faeq. While shadowing Dr. Aso in his office earlier this week, I witnessed how the problems in Iraq make these decisions even more difficult.
As I saw patient after patient visit Dr. Aso’s office last Wednesday, the fact that congenital heart disease is a rampant problem here in northern Iraq became blatantly obvious. Families drove for hours just to see this one cardiologist examine their child, and so many of them were told about the urgency of their child’s heart condition.
Though so many cases are urgent, Dr. Aso is restricted from the limited options he has available to him in Iraq. The lack of training and technology for doctors along with poverty and cultural dilemmas prevent many children from receiving surgery in the country. It’s hardships like these that affect Dr. Aso’s decision making every day.
One of his decisions that resonated with me concerned the fate of a three-month-old boy. His parents brought him to the office knowing he had a heart problem, but they needed Dr. Aso to examine and diagnose him. After a few seconds of doing the echocardiogram (an ultrasound of the heart), Dr. Aso’s whole demeanor changed instantly.
He explained to us that two of the little boy’s heart chambers were malformed and merged into a single chamber causing immense pressure to build in his heart. As the family and Dr. Aso discussed their options, the limitations became obvious. The surgery the child needs could be done in a town six hours away, but the family did not have the money to do this. On top of this, the next group of American non-profit surgeons who will perform local surgeries here does not arrive for another fifty days, which could be too late for the dying boy.
For a solid 10 minutes Dr. Aso did not say a word. He sat there, weighing the child’s options and deciding his fate. Imagine the immensity of this decision. Dr. Aso has basically been backed into a corner and told to make a decision on this child’s life. And so, he did. Waiting is the only option. He spoke to the parents, comforted them, signed the papers, and watched as the next patient walked in.
Dr. Aso often finds himself faced with difficult decisions, but with the options available to him he takes the initiative to make the best call for these children. These families are, in fact, some of the strongest people I have ever witnessed. They face impending tragedy while dealing with poverty and neglect. Sitting in Dr. Aso’s office, however, allowed me to see that real initiative can cause real change in the face of immense hardship.
People like Dr. Aso take this initiative as far as they can, and PLC hopes to offer opportunities for this initiative to be extended across the world. Whether it be through buying Klash from our Buy Shoes. Save Lives. program, supporting local healthcare through Remedy Mission, or creatively partnering with PLC to find new ways of providing these heart surgeries, you can also take the initiative to make a difference in childrens’ lives.
June 16, 2010 by Lydia · Comments Off
PLC interns have recently worked with local shoe makers to design the first-ever pair of female Klash! Here, a Klash-maker cuts ribbon for the bow, which is one feminine aspect of the new shoes. Pre-order a pair here for a limited time only.
June 16, 2010 by Preston · Comments Off
Experiencing Iraqi culture in a variety of ways is one of the great parts of being a PLC intern. The tasks we take on allow us to build meaningful relationships with new friends as we work. So far, a few of us interns have been a part of this relationship building through working with our new friend Aram. Aram is a local Klash maker who uses his unique gift to help PLC provide much-needed heart surgeries for children right here in his home country. For the last few weeks, the interns have been working with Aram on new ideas for Klash. Day after day, at least two of us have been frequenting his shop, speaking in broken language, trying to communicate new ideas, and in doing so, slowly building a great relationship while experiencing a new and exciting culture!
This culture is one of great hospitality. Every time we step foot in his shop, Aram is quick to offer water and tea. Often times we try to pay for the drinks he gives us, but the gesture is always denied. Many people here have a joy about them as they serve their guest. Even after three weeks of our visits, Aram never fails to extend his hospitality. On one of our latest visits, we partook in a rather unusual adventure of the culinary type.
While sitting in Aram’s shop during lunch time the other day, he asked if we would like some sêrûpê. This dish that I’ve only heard tale of, has often times made our Iraqi friends laugh by even just mentioning the name. The food that was brought to us was a green-yellow, brothy mixture containing sheep brain, foot, tongue, and mid-region. I know the thought is quiet unappetizing, but after timidly tasting the first bite, we understood that the Iraqi people know what’s going on when it comes to food. They can even make sheep brain and feet taste delicious. Served with a tortilla-type bread called naan, the meal could not have been more delicious.
Along with experiencing the culture through food, we’ve also experienced a type of relationship building that can only be formed by sitting in a Klash shop in the middle of Iraq while sipping hot tea. After sitting around a bit and talking about our new Klash ideas, the conversation can quickly drift to dugolie (the Kurdish word for “soccer” or “futbol”), especially focusing on the World Cup and the many reasons why Aram thinks Germany will win it all. We talk about the trade, argue about sports, and work on Klash together. Spending time in Aram’s shop has been one of the best ways of experiencing the culture so far.
June 7, 2010 by Lydia · Comments Off
Klash are a Kurdish tradition in footwear. PLC works with local shoemakers, selling pairs of Klash to fund heart surgeries. Its a beautiful way to invest in the community on another level!
June 3, 2010 by Lydia · Comments Off
Three members of PLC’s staff meet with KakAram to design a more modern, feminine pair of Klash. KakAram is a local shoemaker here in Kurdistan working with us to sell shoes and save lives!
Thanks to Michael Duffield and NEED Magazine for covering Kadeeja’s stories and lending your voice in support of the effort to help Ahmad and the others from the Great Eight whose surgeries we are funding in Turkey right now.
Thanks to all the kind folks at GOOD magazine for the generous inclusion of PLC’s one-of-a-kind life-saving KLASH – hand-made by the Kurds of Iraq.
In all of the recent excitement over the last couple of months about our internship program, expanding partnerships in the US, and, most of all, even more kids who are returning home with healed hearts, we’ve barely mentioned an exciting new product that will help the Preemptive Love Coalition fulfill its mission to fund heart surgeries for the no less than 3,000 children in Iraq who are dying on a waiting list.
Kids Klash are a great way to help younger kids connect with the lives of their global peers. Many of the kids on the surgery waiting list are between the ages of 1 and 6—the same age range that will be able to enjoy wearing Kids Klash. When a child has the chance to wear a great handmade shoe, it provides an opportunity to teach them about the wider world and the challenges of poverty and conflict faced by kids like them around the world. It’s not quite walking a kilometer in someone else’s shoes, but it’s at least a start.
Kids Klash don’t just help build perspective—they make a real difference, too. These shoes are handmade over the course of 20 hours per pair by village cooperatives, by prisoners seeking to rehabilitate their lives, and by victims of landmines seeking a living wage. Each purchase invests money in their economy. And, even more, each purchase helps to fund a heart surgery for one of the 3,000 Iraqi children waiting for the chance to live.
With a lower price (only $25!) and a more kid-friendly rubber sole (water and washing are no problem now), Kids Klash are a perfect way to change lives and save lives.
On July 7th, 2007 an amazing thing happened… a guy named Chad was the first of hundreds and hundreds of compassionate people to purchase the as-yet-unknown shoe called Klash. Chad and hundreds like him have given us the encouragement and confidence we’ve needed to keep selling Klash and using the proceeds to fund heart surgeries for Iraqi kids.
And as cliche as this is about to sound, lots of people thought we were crazy. Most thought it was a three week project that we would outgrow. Some thought it was a silly failure to comprehend the real needs of Iraqis. Indeed, at times we probably thought so ourselves. But as one month has turned to twelve, there is no denying the magnetic force behind the simplicity of our message.
The Preemptive Love Coalition, via the “Buy Shoes. Save Lives.” program, has now sent 13 kids to surgery, funding them at various stages along the way to the tune of $36,500. What a pretty tune! We raised and gave away an additional $16,000 for pre-op heart screenings and have money waiting for 6-7 kids that we plan on sending later this month.In 12 months we’ve invested nearly $22,000 into local klash-making economies, plus tens of thousands more into the broader economy as a by-product of operating our business. We’ve sold $33,000 of Klash across the US, UK, Europe, Africa and Australia, and have seen such a range of creativity exercised in helping these children that we sometimes just sit astounded at all you do!
One of the major developments of the past year is the way in which we’ve reorganized under the banner of The Preemptive Love Coalition. After 4 months of selling shoes to save lives we started realizing that we had more to say than “buy shoes. save lives.” We wanted to say “Love your enemies. Do good to those who do bad to you.” In a region where “tit for tat” is the predominant peacemaking method, we wanted to lead out with another option.
Our “this for that” model is as simple as encouraging those who would be with us to find something in their current environment and use it (“this”) in the service of the thousands and thousands of Iraqi who are waiting in a line for life-saving heart surgeries outside the country (“that”).”This for that” is also about giving back love for hate; kindness for oppression; truth for perceptions.
As we look forward to the coming year we envision moving deeper into the hurt of Iraq and working among the more oppressed and excluded groups of people. We want them to know that there is an entire movement of people in America and around the world who will not abide the ongoing retaliatory methods of “peacemaking” in the region. We are those who use all manner of “this” for that – for peace; for kindness; for truth.
We are The Preemptive Love Coalition. Thanks for being with us!
Jeremy, Cody, Michelle, Ruth, Scott, Bobby
Audrey, Angel, Chris, Colby, Jesse, Peter (THE INTERNS)
Just a quick note to say that we have a limited number of 11″ and 11.25″ Red/Blue and Blue/White shoes available for those of you who have been patiently waiting for some larger sizes to come along.
Due to our limited quantities, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make sure we get you all the information you need to buy that pair of gargantuan shoes you’ve been waiting on.
Peace on earth,