The Kurish Globe
By Sazan M. Mandalawi
Ruwayda Mustafa Rabar, a 22-year-old law graduate from Kingston University in the UK, has committed herself and a team of volunteers to collecting 100,000 signatures to initiate the idea of a child benefit scheme in Kurdistan.
The aim of the Kurdistan Child Benefit is to have a parliamentary debate, and a special commission which will overlook the project, assessing whether it is possible to achieve within the next five years.
After spending ten years in Europe, Rabar has returned to Kurdistan, in excitement and determination she informs "I am staying here for as long as it takes to make this campaign successful. I don't have a defeatist attitude and will do whatever it takes to make it successful."
Rabar says after returning to Kurdistan, seeing children cleaning car windows and selling little things in traffic lights had a profound impact on her to think of starting this initiative. "It is not just the parental responsibility but also the government to ensure that families are supported and children protected."
The volunteers meet printing and transport costs, work on the website and use social media to spread information on the scheme. In different parts of the region young Kurds go knocking door-to-door asking families for signatures. According to Rabar, the local Kurds she has spoken to welcome the idea.
"We simply don't have a culture of volunteering. Getting volunteers has been extremely hard. The problem is the reliance on government to do things instead of public and volunteers efforts," explains Rabar after he prints a stack of petition papers that are to be distributed among the volunteers.
The Kurdistan Child Benefit Scheme, initiated by Rabar with the assistance and work of a dedicated team of young volunteers in Kurdistan, wishes to have a monthly allowance for children in Kurdistan so they are not forced to leave school or be pressured to work. The underlying aim is to provide children with the assurance of a quality life where their needs are met.
Rabar, also an editor for Alliance of Kurdish Rights adds, "Our aims are to improve the Kurdistan regions and communities by highlighting injustices that Kurds face."
When asked to sign the petition, Najat Abdullah was astounded by the idea. "Young Kurds are making grand changes in Kurdish society," she exclaims. "This is a great initiation, even if it is not implemented it shows the extent of which the new generation of Kurds goes to implement changes and influence decision making of the government."