Unnoticed Heroes: Iraqi Teachers Inspiring Against the Odds

Published: Nov 15, 2023 Reading time: 2 minutes
Unnoticed Heroes: Iraqi Teachers Inspiring Against the Odds
© Photo: Majd Zaghir

People often celebrate heroes for their remarkable achievements, which leave us in awe. However, we tend to overlook the real heroes among us—the ones who toil tirelessly day after day. Teachers are unsung heroes. Despite the challenging circumstances they face, they continue to educate and nurture future generations, helping shape their futures while providing essential mental and psychological support.

Bzhar, a  teacher from northern Iraq, sheds light on the harsh realities of the education system in her region. 

"We lack adequate buildings and classrooms, and essential educational supplies are in short supply," she explains, "but we must do our best for our children."

Despite these hardships, Bzhar has established a deep connection with her students. "Most of the time, we're like friends," she says. She engages her students by asking open-ended questions and fostering a sense of camaraderie. Her caring attitude, reminiscent of a mother's, has won the hearts of her students, who eagerly await her classes and seek her out during breaks for additional conversations. However, like many teachers, Bzhar struggles with the lack of support that would enable her to excel in her role. "As teachers, we often feel left to fend for ourselves without adequate support or assistance," she laments.

Recognising the challenges teachers like Bzhar face, with funding from Education Cannot Wait (ECW), we partnered with Save the Children, Intersos, and Rwanga Foundation to provide essential support to schools in northern Iraq. This support included teacher kits, school renovations, remedial classes, and psychological support for students.

In addition to material assistance, we conducted numerous training sessions for teachers during the project. These sessions aimed to introduce educators to innovative teaching techniques and equip them with practical strategies to address the needs of children dealing with trauma or experiencing learning difficulties. Bzhar attests to the impact of this training, "I've undergone extensive training with PIN, and it has been incredibly beneficial. I've been able to support my students in every way possible and have always been there for them." One particular training technique stands out in Bzhar's memory,

"The training helped me immensely. For instance, when forming groups in the classroom, girls used to be segregated from boys. The training introduced a technique that was invaluable in creating mixed-gender groups."

Our support is a small but significant help for these education heroes who pour their hearts and hopes into their work. Bzhar shares her dreams for the future, "I aspire to see my students reach the highest levels of education, equipped with the knowledge and skills to make a positive impact on our people and our country."

In our midst, teachers like Bzhar are the true heroes, shaping the future one student at a time. Their dedication and resilience deserve our utmost admiration and support.    

Autor: Majd Zaghir, People in Need MENA Regional Communications Officer

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