The Greatest Among You

A forum for those serving the distressed among us.

Project: Iraqi Children

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This and the previous post were from a write up of projects my good friend Sarah Payne was involved in. Also working with her were Phil Rosati, Melanie Lorino, Evelyn Rodriguez, Drew Nellen.

“As part of our Introduction to Management class, our team was instructed to use basic principles of management to put together a successful project that would make an impact on the community. Since corporate social responsibility is an important aspect of management and working together as a team is as important, these projects proved to be beneficial and provided an opportunity to practice management as opposed to learning about it. Our first project: Project Iraqi Children, ensured that our group worked together as a team to utilize basic management strategies to make a contribution to our global environment in a creative way.

Organizations have a responsibility to be proactive in addressing problems identified in their environments. Our organization, made up of Phil Rosati, Melanie Lorino, Drew Nellen, (Alicia) Evelyn Rodriguez, and Sarah Adkins analyzed our distinctive competencies to create three projects that would address specific problems that we saw in the world around those in our organization.
Immediately upon the formation of Team 3, the planning phase began. Four out of five of our organization’s members are full time summer session students as well as full time employees outside of school. Due to the scarcity of time available for our organization’s members, Team 3 determined that the primary goal would be to find the highest output projects with the lowest input. When choosing the project to work on, the actual time involved was a concern that required discussion and compromises during team meetings. Seeking to complete the projects quickly, work began on the first of the three community service projects during the first week of class. To ensure that our group was able to effectively communicate over the course of the summer session, we exchanged email addresses and phone numbers and kept ourselves organized and on time by coming up with our own deadlines for actions to be taken towards delivering the final report to Dr. McAllister.
The planning phase of our project involved deciding the goal of the project and how it would be carried it out. We began by asking our members what problems each of us were aware of. One problem put forth by Evelyn and Phil was the need for care packages to be sent to the troops in Iraq. Further evaluation and analysis of the problem involved obtaining more details from Evelyn, she had spoken with her brother previously about what types of items to send in a care package for the troops and he told her that Iraqi children are more in need than the troops are. The children of Iraq tend to have very few school supplies and the children ask the soldiers for simple things like paper and pencils often. The troops often lack the resources to assist with this request when they often want to help the children. We determined that our best pathway to addressing this problem would be to put together a care package for the children in Iraq instead of the troops. U.S. troops have daily contact with civilians in Iraq and have helped extend the altruism of the United States to Iraq’s people. This would allow us to send our school supplies directly to the troops, who would then disburse them to the Iraqi students. The education system in Iraq has been in a constant state of repair since the fall of the Hussein regime. Saddam Hussein severely under funded and under regulated Iraq’s schools, and as a result, Iraqi children are as unprepared for the modern world as they have been in decades. In fact, 25 percent of primary school-age children in Iraq do not go to school.1 Furthermore, though the reconstruction of Iraq in general has helped to improve conditions, they remain very poor in almost every school. There is a lack of money, and therefore, a lack of learning materials.

As a group we decided that helping Iraqi children with school supplies was a noble cause; our simple plan of a troop care package had transformed into a philanthropic effort on a larger scale. Our U.S. troops are facilitating freedom as well as promoting a caring and positive image of America to the countries in which they are serving. Evelyn’s brother – Javier’s efforts further enhance our country’s commitment to the Iraqi people. To assist in this effort our team wanted to contribute by reaching out to the children of Iraq while giving the soldiers the satisfaction of being able to help the children. We knew we needed to do more than just send some paper and pencils. As college students it was a challenge to remember what a younger school child might find exciting and helpful.

The thought process began and a list of items was generated as a team. We needed to keep in mind that we were sending this a great distance and the supplies would need to be carried by troops that might have other duties when entering Iraqi communities. The supplies we found suitable for this task were notebooks, pencils, pens, erasers, pencil sharpeners, colored pencils. As there was a certain financial aspect to our project the number of children we would be able to help was limited. The agreed upon amount was six children per group member totaling thirty children. Sarah provided the team with stores that could be cost effective for this project. The challenge of this project was how to make all the supplies easily transportable for the troops to hand out. Through a combination of collecting cash / item donations from friends and co-workers and purchasing items ourselves, we were able to meet our goal of supplies for 30 children. We packed all thirty bags of school supplies in a box and Melanie shipped the supplies to Javier in Iraq.

Iraqi Children

Courtesy: Operation Iraqi Children Organization2

We are not alone in identifying the need for quality school supplies for Iraqi students. Among the many projects funded by the Iraqi Trust Fund is the American Textbook Provision Policy. Since 2004, this project has been able to finance and distribute almost 70 million textbooks to 6 million Iraqi students.3 We are excited that our small contribution may have helped at least a handful of Iraqi students experience the level of education we enjoy here in the United States.
The need that Iraqi children have for the supplies we sent is considerable and will be appreciated by those in receipt. Our team’s ability to work together and think outside the box led to a successful humanitarian accomplishment. Creativity was necessary at every level of this task in order to address all challenges from coming up with the initial idea through the implementation of the final result.”

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Written by metaphysicalperegrine

June 29, 2009 at 1:59 pm

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