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This is Baqer. A few months ago, we visited him in his home in Al-Gameeya, Najaf. Baqer was a quiet soul. We had met many children by that point but Baqer seemed different. It was clear that Baqer had become accustomed to a life of pain and difficulties. Baqer was born into poverty.
His father, Ahmed, would try his best to provide for the family but he had a heart condition that mostly kept him out of work. His mother could barely read and write and was already busy caring for Baqer, his father and two siblings. Ahmed’s illness escalated and he eventually passed away during heart surgery. Six years after this, when we visited Baqer and his family, we found lots of love and warmth. Their mother was trying her best to keep all three children in school despite costly travel expenses. But Baqer struggled to leave the house and return from school everyday because of the steep stairs that led to their home.
Baqer too had been diagnosed with the same heart condition as his father. Thankfully, he had had access to medical care early on. His mother mentioned that although it has been tough, she continues to be thankful for the support and care they are receiving and has hope for the future. Baqer is one of over 57,000 children sponsored by Al-Ayn today. Yet poverty and orphanhood continue to be a daily struggle for thousands awaiting help.