In perhaps the most meaningful undertaking of the last decade at Upper Canada College, if only for a brief moment, our community efforts were dedicated towards a greater good. News of a UCC Class of ’17 fundraiser began to pop up in emails and newsfeeds about two weeks ago. And the result – as most already know – is that sufficient money was raised to fund the operating cost of a lifesaving surgery for a young man named Ibrahim, who is currently living in the M1 Refugee Camp outside of Mosul, Iraq.
Ibrahim, as the fundraising page describes, has been displaced for much of his young life. His family has fallen victim to the brutality of Daesh, and lost their father because of it. He was also born with a rare medical abnormality called omphalocele – which has caused other health issues including intestinal obstruction, hydronephrosis, and hepatomegaly – that threatens his length and quality of life.
Because of this surgery, which will be carried out for no profit by a doctor near the camp, he will be able to remain with his family for longer than he would have if it never happened. His prospect to lead a normal life – as normal as can be with the remainder of his circumstances – is that much greater. His mother will keep her son past his seventh birthday, his sister will grow up with a brother for longer than ever thought possible. For a family just like any of ours, but in such trying circumstances, this hope is something that no amount of terror or politics or displacement can take away from them for the time being.
Good has been done in the world, and for that we at TBAW are elated.
A special mention must be made to the member of our community who made this possible. IB2 Darwin Jimal initiated the project by linking the UNHCR, the Swedish charitable organisation Qandil, and our school. He connected with Ibrahim and his family after volunteering at the refugee camp over the winter break.
Just one day after his return, Darwin was back in class and kind enough to give an interview.
I asked him which of his experiences in Iraq impacted him the most. Without hesitation he began to express the surreal nature of life in the camp. “The situations are unimaginable,” he iterated. “Hearing the horror stories of kids just like the ones in our community… it was numbing.”
He continued on to talk about his own view of the fundraiser. “I was skeptical that we would reach the goal,” he mentioned. “Surpassing it like this… means the world to me and to Ibrahim and to his family. The support of this community has been vital.”
One concern about the project was our future contact with Ibrahim. Many people are interested in monitoring the young boy’s health and situation. “I’m connected with Ibrahim and his family, so we will be able to get updates,” Jimal assured. “As soon as the surgery is over, I’m in contact with the doctor and his mother. We will know the outcome of his recovery.” Stay tuned for the post-operational reports and updates right here on TBAW.
Most know him as a three-year varsity soccer centre-back, a Lang Scholar, and an all-around outstanding community guy. But I feel that it’s important to recognize Darwin’s recent efforts for what they mean to our school: that the possibility of goodness exists in all of us, and that it’s produced by love and courage should you be willing to spend these currencies well.
Donations are still being accepted for the fundraiser. 100% of proceeds beyond the target goal (which was used to pay for the surgery) will go to medical treatment for Ibrahim’s sister, and then to a general fund for the M1 Refugee Camp of Mosul. You can follow and contribute at: