ISF, MND-B Soldiers distribute supplies to Karada schools
March 3, 2009
BAGHDAD - Iraqi Security Forces and their U.S. partners distributed a variety of clothes and school supplies to students in two schools, Feb. 25 in the al Karradah district of eastern Baghdad.
More than 400 children gathered outside the Qairwan Elementary School's courtyard to receive their supplies. National Police officers from the 1st National Police Brigade, 1st NP Division and Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldiers assigned to the National Police Transition Team, handed students backpacks, notebooks, pencil sets and crayons. Most of the supplies were donated by several organizations from the U.S., as well as Family members of deployed troops.
As Coalition Forces continue enabling their ISF counterparts, Iraqi citizens are seen relying more and more on the ISF to improve their day to day life.
"With the ISF in the lead, [Iraqi citizens] are now able to address their problems with NP officers because they realize the NP play a role in their community," said Capt. Marcus Long, assigned to the NPTT. "Events like this allow the people to see and talk to them."
While on a foot patrol to the Qairwan Elementary School, an Iraqi man approached the combined forces after his son suffered a large cut on the side of his head. An NP officer provided first aid for the boy and gave him a toy has a reward for his courage.
Long, a former physical education teacher from Patton, Mo., said the visit allowed NP officers to get a first-hand look at the needs of the school. Long credited the leaders of the 1st Bde., 1st NP Div., for planning and executing the school supply distribution in the two Karada-area schools.
"This lets [National Policemen] see the classrooms, the lack of playground equipment, the cafeteria and the bathrooms. This allows them to see all the school's concerns."
The senior NP officer said this event was fulfilling because of the joy shown by the children.
"We love to see the happiness in the children's eyes," said Iraqi Col. Taria, the operations chief for the 1st NP Div. " This is one of the most important things we do, they want to see us and talk to us. It's a big thing."
Taria will continue to work on the laundry list of requests made by school officials at both the Shana and Shorwq Kindergarten and the Qairwan Elementary School in order to enhance the education of the children.
"The schools have asked us for more swings, slides and toys," he said. "We are going to try to help them in the near future."
The school's headmaster at the Shana and Shorwq Kindergarten expressed her gratitude to both the U.S. troops and Iraqi NP officers for the supplies. She credits the recent security gains in the area as a major factor in allowing this type of operation.
"We are very happy because the Iraqi Government, National Police and the American Army now have the time to take care of the children," she said. "This is a very poor area, and they need an aid operation such as this one."