Located in western Asia, the Republic of Iraq, is bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the south-west and Syria to the west.
In the last few decades Iraq has had a troubled history and today individuals, families and communities continue to live under the threat of violence from Daesh (Isis).
The Christian population is estimated to make up just 1% of the population of 39 million. Most Christians live either in the capital, Baghdad, or in the northern cities of Kirkuk, Irbil and Mosul - once a major Mesopotamian trading hub known as Nineveh in the Bible.
Recent reports though suggest that the overall Christian population may have dropped by as much as 50% since 2003, with many fleeing to Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. As a result the number of Mothers’ Union members in Iraq has also declined in recent years with many fleeing to neighbouring countries.
Despite this the remaining Mothers’ Union members in Iraq are very dedicated and active in their local communities. There is a strong sense of spirituality and fellowship amongst them and special occasions such as Mothering Sunday, Christmas and Easter are celebrated together with much singing, praise and joy.
Their practical outreach work is particularly valued by local families as there are no official care or support systems in place in Iraq to support vulnerable individuals. Their work includes:
During the 16 Days of Activism hundreds of members of the Mothers’ Union in Grahamstown came together in solidarity to bring attention and awareness the fact that gender based violence will not be tolerated.