APRIL 2019 | VOL. 1
NEWS FROM AMAR The official publication of the AMAR International Charitable Foundation
A young patient at the central cancer hospital in Basra
AMAR to join Iraq’s cancer battle AMAR is to take a leading role in helping Iraq to fight cancer - the country’s second most common cause of death.
What's in this newsletter:
Led by Professor David Kerr CBE, a member of the AMAR Board, and one of the world’s leading cancer specialists, AMAR will work alongside Iraq’s Health Ministry to develop a new strategy and action plan to vastly improve the grim statistics. “Iraq has undergone virtually 40 years of continuous war and conflict. The country, which in the 1970s unquestionably had the best healthcare system in the Middle East, now finds itself in a very different position indeed,” explained David. “Its economy has been smashed to bits and the country faces enormous challenges in all areas. The health infrastructure has to be rebuilt from the bottom up,” he added. David listed the many difficulties Iraq faced in improving the fight against cancer.
Battling Cancer Donor of the Month AMAR Staff AMAR Romania How you can help
He said in the past, there was insufficient
They persuaded Dr Ala Alwan, a World
political priority and funding. This was
Health Organisation Director, to return to
coupled with a limited ability to counter
take the job. At the WHO he was credited
lifestyle changes following modernisation
with being one of the first to put non-
communicable diseases on the world
“Today the fragmented and underfinanced healthcare system is not set up for chronic
“We in the cancer community should get
disease management. There is a lack of
behind him to support this remarkable
cancer awareness and knowledge amongst
challenge. The idea of creating an
the health workers, and a drastic lack of
essential platform of cancer care that will
diagnostic and treatment capacity within
return the most cost-effective benefits for
the system,” he explained.
the citizens of Iraq at these times of a
diminished economy is quite a challenge.
“Iraq sadly has too few effective cancer
But I believe that it is one that we should
medicines that are easy to administer and
try to think through and find the
do not require hospitalisation.”
evidential basis of support,” said David.
Baroness Nicholson gets a hug from a patient
David said another huge problem facing
“Ala's challenge to us as a clinical
Iraqi doctors was the limited data on
community is to learn how we can deliver
cancer incidence and mortality, due to the
a basic platform of cancer care that will
lack of functioning cancer registries and
benefit the citizens of Iraq and is
limited death certification.
AMAR has a big part to play in this too. We plan to train our marvellous Women Health Volunteers to respond to the varied needs of the terminally ill.” AMAR’s Chairman, Baroness Nicholson,
However, the professor believes with
To begin with, work with the Iraqi
AMAR’s help Iraq is ready to take on these
Ministry of Health will focus on two areas.
challenges. The government had made a
First, David and his team of AMAR Iraqi
great start, he said, by making a
medical professionals will carry out a drugs
“wonderful” choice of Health Minister.
and medicines audit, focusing on the availability and affordability of cancerfighting drugs. Later they will look at introducing palliative care to Iraq. Currently there are no hospices or similar institutions where the terminally ill can be cared for. “We hope to start work as soon as possible on the medicines’ audit. What is the drugs’ budget, what drugs does Iraq need right away, which specialists do they need for the future? “said David.
believes the charity, with its longestablished record of delivering high-
One of the best Iraq is perfectly placed to help Iraq “vastly ways to get a improve” its record on fighting cancer. clear picture of “Cancer care across the Middle East is your dream particularly poor, due to a huge variety of factors. AMAR will is assist home tothe highly skilled professionals in the region to vastly write down a improve those figures. In David Kerr, we have thelist ideal leader for this. He is famous of your around the globe and his knowledge and ideal features. skills will be invaluable.” quality, highly skilled medical expertise in
The Baroness added: “This is a major piece of work for AMAR and we will need considerable funding to carry out all that
“Meanwhile, we believe palliative care must be integrated into all Iraqi health Professor David Kerr
and cancer control policies, with a focus on providing care at home.
we plan to do. I appeal once again to all our fantastic supporters to keep those donations coming. The Iraqi people need us more than ever.”
Mitsubishi Corporation helps AMAR to empower women in Basra, Iraq Vast numbers of women in Iraq are unemployed and lack the skills to find
Sanaa is one of these women. She has three
work, especially in Basra, one of the country’s most deprived regions.
children to care for, and signed up for the
Thanks to the generosity of the Mitsubishi Corporation, AMAR has been
IT training course. She said "For me it is
working in the region to provide a variety of vocational training to
more than just learning basic IT, it helped
unemployed women to help them gain the skills to enter the workforce.
me to be more social, encouraging me to
Over 80% of women in Iraq do not participate in the labour force. There are
develop my life, to organize my time in a
many reasons for this, not least lack of access to training to develop essential
useful way. In addition to that, I now
believe that nothing is so hard in life, as I have willpower. The trainer is very
On top of this, after years of war and violence many women have lost their
supportive, and the life skills training is
husbands and been left alone to care for their children. Without work, they
very helpful in developing my home
are exceptionally vulnerable and struggle to feed and clothe their families.
That’s why AMAR and Mitsubishi Corporation have partnered to provide practical assistance to unemployed women in Basra as Mitsubishi
Thank you to Mitsubishi Corporation for
Corporation Empowerment Women Project, with a focus on widows, to get
helping women like Sanaa develops the
them back into work. The training started in September 2018 and covers
confidence and skills to take control of
English language, IT, hairdressing, sewing and design – with a cohort of
their lives. Through this programme, their
over 100 women.
ability to support themselves and their families in the future has received an invaluable boost.
Students learning English
"For me it is more than just learning basic IT" Beneficiaries of the Mitsubishi programme hard at work on their computers
A Touch of Frost at AMAR OUR NEW PROJECT MANAGER NICK FROST GIVES HIS FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF LIFE WITH AMAR It’s six months since I joined AMAR, and it’s been non-stop ever since. My job is to coordinate and assist the Iraq team on a crosssection of our life-changing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects. Having previously worked with several UKbased charities, I was no stranger to the NGO world. However, it’s my first experience working in the international arena. Most people in the UK are very used to the concept of international aid but, for many here, the focus often appears to be on Africa. Initiatives like Comic Relief raise many millions for the continent’s poor and underserved. Meanwhile, I believe the many problems encountered by those living in the Middle East seem to be less well known. In my short time here at AMAR I have learnt so much, not only about the region, but about its wonderful, andoften long-suffering people. AMAR is the leading foreign charity in Iraq, and its projects are vital, varied, valued and comprehensive. The Women’s Training Centre in Al-Khora, in armat Ali near to Basra is one of the best. The strength and resilience of these women is what amazes me most. It would be so easy, given the social pressures in Iraq, for the majority of them to remain unemployed and to stay confined to the home, struggling to care and support their children. However, what we have found is an unparalleled drive to learn, improve and become selfsufficient. And this isn’t a trend unique to widowed and divorced women, with girls as young as 15 using our centre for selfimprovement too. With support and oversight from the Basra Oil Company (BOC) and Rumaila Operating Organization (ROO), the Community Centre for Women opened its doors in August 2015. Located near to ROO’s armat Ali Water Treatment Plant, the site has classrooms that offer a range of courses, from trade-specific classes such as sewing, design, hairdressing, beauty and craftworks, to lessons in literacy, computer usage and human rights.
"I have seen only a fraction of the amazing things the charity has done for those less fortunate, and I am so excited to be a part of its future."
I collate all the photographs, information and data from the centre, and am privileged to hear the stories of some remarkable women. Al Khora’s centre for women is a fantastic success story. In my short time at AMAR, I have seen only a fraction of the amazing things the charity has done for those less fortunate, and I am so excited to be a part of its future.
Interns visit AMAR’s life-changing projects in Romania At the end of March, AMAR interns, Asia Scott and Elvira Correa Lazaro, visited
Asia said, “The volunteers and
Bucharest to learn more about AMAR’s work with disadvantaged children in
beneficiaries really do form special
bonds, and the enjoyment and happiness of the children with
AMAR stepped in after the fall of the dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, to rehabilitate
disabilities, as well as their partners, is
the thousands of disabled children in Romania who had been confined to brutal
so clear to see.”
orphanages during the regime and remained extremely marginalised. During her time at AMAR, Asia has Its programme unites volunteers in mainstream education with children in special
spearheaded the social media presence
educational needs schools to foster inclusion. Through joint participation in
of AMAR Romania, so she particularly
activities including dance competitions and festivals, the children with
enjoyed being able to see the impact of
disabilities are able to form meaningful relationships with their peers and develop
AMAR Romania on the ground.
a strong sense of belonging. Elvira, a political science student at Guided by AMAR Romania’s long-time Country Manager, Diana Tascu, Asia and
Utah’s Brigham Young University, said
Elvira visited two special educational needs schools - one of which was once one of
“The spirit of trust and love that’s
the most notorious orphanages before it was converted in the 1990s - where
fostered by the programme is really
AMAR works. They were both moved by the impact AMAR is having on the
helping children with disabilities to
children they met.
build confidence and realise their potential, where otherwise they would remain marginalised.” “I think it’s a great model that should
"The spirit of trust and love that’s fostered by the programme is really helping children with disabilities to
be rolled out in other countries,” she added.
build confidence and realise their potential, where
If you’re interested in helping AMAR
otherwise they would remain marginalised.”
Romania expand its life-changing programme, please get in touch.
AMAR Interns Asia and Elvira with volunteers and participants
Photos from AMAR Romania
Happy children at an AMAR Romania meeting
A first grader Adiza posing for the camera
Asia Scott and Diana Tascu
Enjoying her lesson at one of AMAR Romania's sessions
Facebook Can Produce Many Happy Returns for AMAR There’s a great new way to help AMAR and to raise awareness of what we do to an audience of millions. On their birthday, all Facebook members are offered the chance to raise money for the charity of their choice. AMAR is now registered as an official not-for-profit, so with just a few clicks you can start raising money for us amongst your friends. Facebook even starts you off by donating the first pound and then it’s up to you to persuade your pals that AMAR needs their support. We’d be hugely grateful if you could use Facebook to bring AMAR many happy returns of vital fund-raising cash. https://tcrn.ch/2CYe2wj
Offices Contact AMAR ICF Head Office - AMAR International AMAR International Charitable Foundation 80 Petty France London SW1H 9EX United Kingdom Telephone: Email: Website: Facebook: Twitter:
+44 (0) 207 799 2217 firstname.lastname@example.org www.amarfoundation.org amar.ldn @AMARLondon
Registered Charity Number: 1047432 AMAR International Charitable Foundation is a charitable company limited by guarantee registred in England and Wales. Registered Company No: 03066579 Registered office: Aquila House, Waterloo Lane, Chelmsford, Essex, United Kingdom,
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