While the term "hijab" was originally a term describing anything used to conceal, it now refers to concealing garments worn by Muslim women outside the house. Who could have imagined that one Iraqi mother's hijab would become a hiding place for a desperate little girl after her mother was ruthlessly gunned down by ISIS as the two tried to escape to freedom? For three long, terrifying days, until she was rescued by a member of All Things Possible Ministries (ATP), the child huddled next to her mother's body, under the temporary safety of her hijab, only venturing out to seek leftover water bottles among the deceased.
Along with many like it, this story of untold horrors and trauma highlights the need to ensure that tragically orphaned children in the war-torn Middle East are cared for in ways which are consistent with the best practices and interests of their unique situations and culture. Knowing how to properly respond to children in crisis is a complex task. Upon finding this young girl, Victor Marx, who leads ATP Ministries, placed an urgent call to Providence World CEO Philip Darke, asking for help in developing a strategy for providing the best possible care for at-risk children. ATP cared for her in a short-term care facility while working to locate extended family members who ultimately took her in. This child and her family are being continually lifted up in prayer, knowing that she will need ongoing, compassionate care. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to find family members willing to take in orphaned children. Organizations around the world must address orphan care with the goal of placing children in families but making adjustments for the various cultural standards and children's backgrounds.
This story brings into focus the multi-faceted nature of Global Orphan Care, including emergency, trauma and kinship care, tragedy intervention and prevention, orphan restoration and so many other things the millions of orphaned and at-risk children, like the little Iraqi girl, need.