The Road to Baghdad, an inaugural virtual mission that aims for participants to travel 6202 miles (9981km) in support of Iraq’s most at-risk orphans and street children during COVID-19, was launched by Iraqi Children Foundation (ICF) on 1 October. During the month of October, participants from across the world can help achieve a collective goal of travelling the distance between Washington D.C. and Baghdad. Mohammed Khudairi, chair of the ICF, says they are on a mission to help Iraqi children and their families during this COVID crisis. Everyone can participate in any way they wish to ‘travel’ just by logging their daily activity from running, walking, cycling, swimming to dancing or housework.
Khudairi says in mid-March, schools in Baghdad closed and the organization had to close two of their Hope Buses temporarily which meant children could no longer come to class or get a nutritious meal. He says the city went into lockdown several times and economic hardships led to some children returning to the street with an increased risk of child abuse in the home.
“Each year, the ‘In Their Shoes’ race weekend is held in the United States by the ICF and draws dignitaries, diplomats, veterans and business-people, families and the media. This year, we are doing things differently due to COVID and moving to a virtual event so we can have supporters from all over the world join us safely allowing us to raise awareness for ICF like never before,” he says.