Dozens of homeless children in Iraq are back in school thanks to the "Hope Bus" — a city bus that has been converted into vibrant learning environment, BuzzFeed reports.
Launched by the Iraqi Children Foundation in 2017, the Hope Bus served more than 117 children in its first year of operation. And it is continuing to make a major impact on the lives of homeless, orphaned, and displaced children in one of Baghdad's poorest neighborhoods.
Complete with colorful desks, school supplies, and a blackboard, the bus fits 50 to 55 students at a time. Because of the Hope Bus, children who were unable to go to school because of the war are now learning to read, write, and do math on the repurposed vehicle.
Every day, between 55-65 kids visit the Hope Bus. Every day, our teachers and social workers provide them with academic lessons, healthy meals, medical aid, and a chance to have fun! We are hopeful for them and their futures, despite their impoverished and often tragic situations. They deserve our love, care, and a chance to enjoy life. #iraqsfuture is its children
But the Hope Bus is more than a classroom — it also provides the city's most vulnerable children with nutrition, health care, and social services.
After seeing the success of the first Hope Bus, Iraqi Children Foundation is investing in a second bus, with the hope of bringing tutoring and essential services to more kids in need.
An estimated 800,000 children were left orphaned after the Iraq War and approximately 1.3 million have been displaced due to violence by ISIS. Growing up around armed conflict makes it difficult for children to attend school and puts their development at risk.
Globally, 265 million children cannot attend school due to active conflict, natural disasters, and poverty. Approximately 22% are of those children are primary school-aged, and half live in areas affected by war and conflict, according to the United Nations.
Access to quality education is essential for eradicating extreme poverty. The UN has set the goal of ensuring that all of the world's children have equal access to education by 2030. Accomplishing this goal will demand both global action and community-based initiatives like the Hope Bus to ensure that children receive quality education, even under the most challenging circumstances.