The Al Zahara Childrens orphanage in the Al Andolous area of Basra has a new dining room thanks to funds provided by the British Forces and furniture thanks to Iraqi benevolence.
To grand opening was marked by a late breakfast attended by the orphanage’s patron, Doctor Wathib Al-Amood, and the Second-in-Command of the Queen’s Royal Hussars, Major Tom Mallinson.
Prior to getting their new dining room, built onto an under used terrace, the children ate in a corridor.
Dr Al-Amood said: “Thank-you for this project, you have seen the value of this to the children. Because of their past and their poverty they are now dreaming of better things and I hope, one day, you will meet one of my children as a doctor or an engineer”
Major Mallinson said: “I was only too happy to finish this project; I regard this as a joint British and Iraqi effort as we have all played our part and it shows Iraqis can look after their own. I hope, Dr A-Amood, that the children remember what you have done for them for a long time”
The children then sang “Welcome to our home” in English and further demonstrated their command of the English language before singing an Iraqi song for their guests.
The orphanage provides a secure environment and education to 70 children. The school also provides an education to a further 180 local children.
Dr Al-Amood was a candidate in the recent elections, and while he was not successful he remains committed to the democratic process saying: “This was a very good activity and the elections went very smoothly with no disturbance”