975 and counting . . .
It has been 975 days since the assault that got the world's attention, since the day that ISIS introduced themselves to a watching world with their sieges and attacks on vulnerable minority populations in Northern Iraq.
975 days. Still the conflict is not over, but for those under EDGE's care, they have been relatively 'safe' for around 2 years now.
So what are we doing? Why are we still there?
Well, it has something to do with this fact: vulnerability does not end with the cessation of war. Listen to Margaret Bourdeaux (video below) explain how health issues rise dramatically after conflict has officially ended. She explains why ebola was such a risk 11 years after the war in Liberia had ended.
Because war takes more than lives, it takes livelihoods, it takes normalcy, it robs people of stability. And when there is no stability, life becomes a constant battle just to survive.
When your population grows by 25% and your budget is cut by 20%, simple government infrastructures and services become impossible. Inadequate security forces, health services, educational programs, and other basic needs for a community to run efficiently lead to terrifying conclusions for affected societies.
This is why we continue to fight for normalcy. This is why we wake up every day hoping to help kids feel like kids, for parents to feel like there is a safe place for their kids to go, for families to feel like graduation, college, a career are still options for the future.
We have felt the acute reality that the less air time a region gets, the less dollars we see coming in. The sad fact is that the needs of Kurdistan, and other regions affected by terror and conflict are only increasing as the dust settles and communities try to find the ground beneath their feet.
The next time you hear about Iraq or Liberia, Yemen or Syria, Rwanda, or Tunisia or any other war affected country and think "old news"- remember that old news produces every day problems for years beyond the last update. If you want to see real change, you have to invest beyond the bullets.