Irak: Hero Ahmad

Someone can only be strong for the future when they remember the suffering of the past ... this gives them roots.

— Hero Ahmad

Hero Ahmad comes from a high-profile family, as her father was a leading political activist, who was imprisoned in Abu Ghraib during her infancy. Her work has mainly focused on the Suleimaniya district of Kurdistan, Iraq. She is the founder and director of Kurdistan Save the Children (KSC), Khak Press and Media Centre (KPMC) and KURDSAT Satellite TV. KSC's main objective is to ensure a better future for children, focusing on the economic and social spheres of family, health, education and housing.

Much of Hero Ahmad’s peace activities have been through Kurdistan Save the Children, which she worked hard to found and which she now presides, focusing on the betterment of conditions for Iraqi children and families. Among Hero’s recent projects is the full refurbishment of 50 kindergartens in the district of Suleimaniya. She has also opened a Youth Activity Center in Khanaqeen and the Children’s Rehabilitation Centre (CRC) for street children in Baghdad, now accommodating an average of 100 children. However, funding the charitable projects in Iraq in the last 15 years was a real challenge to the KSC, because of the UN Sanctions. With the auspicious sponsorship of the KSC, approximately 10,000 undernourished children are now leading a normal life and are able to attend school regularly. Around 5000 children have benefited from the centers and special schools of the KSC. In total there are 26 centers for street children, orphans and those with special needs or learning difficulties. Hero also became a member of the Kurdish Parliament, which was established in 2001. Since then she has devoted her time to children, widows and displaced persons, as well as to art. She has organized a number of artistic events, such as "The World We Want" art exhibition, in association with the University of Victoria, Canada, and also supports the work of young musicians, writers, poets and painters. Moreover she has transformed many of the former government’s intelligence buildings, which were used for torture, into museums and has worked on the restoration of archaeological sites in Iraq. For the genocide widows she has established various income-generating projects, such as local handicraft workshops. Her work has inspired the setting up of similar centers and schools in other parts of Iraq since the collapse of Saddam’s regime, particularly in the South of Iraq.

Kurdistan Save the Children (KSC) Khak Press and Media Centre (KPMC) Ibrahim Ahmad Foundation (IAF)