As we enter into a new season of growth and rebirth, and watch the earth reemerge from the wrath of winter, it’s only natural to let our minds drift to the rebuilding we’ve seen, the rebuilding you have made possible here in Iraq and Syria.

We’ve always known that empowerment is the answer, the mortar that would repair the broken pieces of war. We’ve always known that your help would be vital—that together we would work this brokenness into beauty. But we’ve really seen it all take shape here in the lives of women like Sabah in Baghdad.  

She is a widowed candle maker whose strength and resilience have raised four daughters and one son, but she is so much more that that. Her steady voice is a pillar that speaks words of intellect and resolve. She has seen war and trauma, and rising hope in the work of her hands. She is a maker doing what she calls “beautiful and dignified work.” She is more than the sum of her war-broken pieces. She is put-back-together in beautiful mosaic fashion, growing and flourishing in the new day. She is a whole piece of this empowerment story.

And so are you.

It has been the truest form of restoration to watch your hearts join with the those of women and men you’re empowering here in the Middle East to create a colorful mosaic of hope for the future. Each of you, each of us, and each of them represents a jagged, differently hued tile that fits into the whole picture.

For candle makers in Iraq, like Sabah, whose livelihoods are rooted in the dignity of work and the thickness of their spirits, the road looks a lot like this mosaic of which you and I are a part—pieced together and sometimes broken up, mortared and grouted by hope itself, but growing all the more beautiful and whole along the way.

Sabah and her friends at Sisterhood Collective have seen the power they have to pave their roads forward with new color and to rebuild the paths of their children. And you are a necessary piece in their mosaic road. You help them make beauty out of what’s been broken and take the next step forward.

As we speak with the soap makers, knitters and crocheters, aluminum builders, candle makers, and seamstresses you’ve supported, we see this mosaic grow and fill out. You have done this. As fresh and tender stems emerge from the rubble and bask in new life, we remember the beauty and necessity of togetherness. We remember you. Thank you for your partnership in the process of regrowth and rebuilding. Thank you for being another jagged tile in this hopeful mosaic.

The road is beautiful. Join us in the journey today. 

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