FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, KIRKUK, Iraq— While pens, pencils and paper might seem like common items to school children in the U.S., they are often a commodity hard to come by for children in Iraq.
As part of an ongoing effort to support Iraqi schools and children, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and its partners in the Iraqi Police, distributed 35 bags of supplies to the primary school in the remote rural village of Sarbir in Kirkuk province, Nov. 12.
"This is the first time we've received these supplies," explained the school's principal, Neumet Sleman.
"We always have a problem getting stationary supplies like pencils and paper," he explained. "We are very short in supply. When we get this help, it fills this gap."
According to Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Loriaux, the civil affairs team leader with 414th Civil Affairs Company, who helped organize the supply drop, it is not unusual for Iraqi schools to have a very limited quantity of school supplies, which is the major reason his unit began to focus on school supply deliveries.
The deliveries supply's a varied assortment of goods including: pens, pencils, paper, erasers, colored pencils, scissors, educational books, coloring books, pencil sharpeners and binders.
"These school supplies will help supplement the children's education," said Sgt. 1st Class Loriaux.
For children to succeed in their education, they need the proper equipment, and these school supplies fill those needs, he explained.
"It will make it easier to do my school work," said Halgurd Shakar Waleed, 7, who received a bag of supplies. "I really like them."
For Waleed, these supplies will help him work toward his dream of one day becoming a teacher.
Now that the children have a fresh batch of supplies, their principal and teachers can focus on the harder job of providing a good education.
"This makes my job a lot easier, because I don't have to worry about getting supplies for a while," said Neumet.
These children are the future of this village, and through aid like this, we can ensure that they grow up smart, so they can change this place for the better, he explained.
This is the seventh school supply delivery that Sgt. 1st Class Loriaux's team has helped coordinate, and according to him, they plan on doing more.
They are also working on a program to help provide teachers in small schools with the equipment they need to do their job, such as paper, pens and chalk.
"Education is important for these villages, it helps them become more prosperous and gives the children something to strive for," said Sgt. 1st Class Loriaux.
This work, Iraqi children receive tools to succeed, by SSG Justin A. Naylor, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.