Appeal for child needing surgery in Iraq (long)

Dear Dopers,

I have received permission to post this appeal on the SDMB. Below the appeal I have included Ed Zotti’s correspondence with IRD, the agency collecting money for Saad’s surgery. Mods please move this if I have posted in the wrong forum.

As some of you know, I am a foreign aid worker. Until last year I was working in Baghdad. A friend and colleague still working there sent me this appeal which I am reproducing below. I have removed some information that identifies my colleagues by name. The email also included a heartbreaking photo which I have omitted. I promise I won’t make a habit of posting this kind of thing here. Thank you to everyone who can help.

My colleague’s original appeal
I am making a personal appeal to you to help this eight-year old boy, Saad Dhiab who has a congenital a birth defect, an externalized bladder. The boy needs three operations totaling $30,000 to reinsert his bladder and reconstruct his genitals, giving him an opportunity for a normal life.

I don’t usually ask this but there are no programs here for children with birth defects, and, frankly, he’s a really nice kid. He came to our offices with his parents and I promised I would do all I could to help. Could you please make a donation? Donations can be made by credit card on the IRD website by selecting “Donate to the Children of Iraq”. 100% of all donations made before May 15th will go to Saad. We have one month to raise the money.

As you may know, our program provides medical assistance to civilian victims of violence in Baghdad, providing specialized surgery, prosthetics and rehabilitation for innocent victims. Though our funds are only for victims and not for birth defects, we are using our medical staffs’ expertise and volunteer personnel to ensure that we get the best care at the best price for this boy. The team, this boy and his family, and I would be grateful for any help you can offer.
Thank you,

Correspondence between me, Ed Zotti and IRD:
Being the suspicious sort, I took the liberty of contacting the IRD to establish if this were legitimate, and received the following affirmative response. So go ahead and post; just say (a) you asked us if it were OK; (b) we asked IRD and got the reply below, which I encourage you to include in your post; and (c) we’re satisfied the situation is as described and commend the cause to our members. Thanks for asking, good luck, and good luck to the kid. -Ed


Thank you so much for your call. It is indeed a true story and everyone in Baghdad has been very moved by the plight of children with birth defects. IRD staff in Baghdad has met the boy and his family and our staff is eager to help them. Your contribution to this appeal is greatly appreciated. Don’t hesitate to call me again if you have any more questions.

Please check our organization through our website at

International Relief and Development, Inc.
1621 N. Kent Street, 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22209




Thanks again for all you and your colleagues are doing to help over there, madmonk. And best of luck to Saad Dhiab!

No more bumps needed - I’m sticking this. Good on you, madmonk.

Really thanks again everyone. I’m off to bed.

Ditto! :slight_smile:

I need to wait to make my contribution, but I’ll do it ASAP. Hope this gets a lot of response.

Ditto; it will have to wait until the end of April, but it will get done before the deadline.

What a wonderful gesture.

Question, how will IRD know that donations made in the general fund for donations to children of Iraq is actually to Saad?
I will probably mail a check out in care of him later on.
Good luck to Saad and his family.

The OP says that all the donations made to IRD before May 15th will be used for Saad’s surgery.

I gave what I could - I wish I could do more. Best of luck to Saad and his family.

madmonk, I hope it’s ok that I’ve copied this appeal and posted it on several of the daily blogs at I’ve also created a personal blog with this story, and posted it to Californians for Obama, Los Angeles for Obama '08!, SoCAL for Obama, South Bay for Obama! and Women for Obama. I hope it helps!

As I’d hoped, it didn’t take long. . .

Heh – and then on one of the other blogs I’d posted this to, while I was thanking her there. . .

Thanks to everyone and Shayna please post it wherever you think it might generate interest, I appreciate it.

As HazleNutCoffee noted, all donations to the chilren of Iraq fund between now and May 15 will go towards Saad’s surgery. If they raise more than they need for Saad, they have identified other children with birth defects that they will provide assistance to.

I know and worked with the person who has initiated this appeal and I assure you that this cause could not have a better steward. I also know IRD well and I can vouch for it as a responsible aid agency. I’m sure I’ll get updates as things progress and I wil post them here.

Sorry for the double post, but I thought I would just address the elephant in the room: the war in Iraq. I would hate for people to feel that if they are helping Saad, they are taking any position regarding the war.

I know people have strong feelings about the war, myself included. I urge people to set aside whatever feelings they have about the war and realize that there is one little boy caught up in the middle of all this who is suffering and who can be helped with a bit of effort from all of us.

The needs of the world are infinite and when you stand on the edge of that infinity, sometimes its reassuring to pick out one point of light and focus on it for a little while.

Again, thank you to everyone.

Sending some money the kids way.

Looking at your location madmonk28 it seems you’re still working in places with great need. Good on ya and if by some strange twist of fate we ever meet. The drinks are on me.

Keep up the good work.

Just donated. I’m going to ask my church if we can also help.

Sending money his way and will encourage friends who lurk here to do like wise. Thanks for letting us know about Saad.

Donated what I could. That poor little boy…I’m really glad that a relief agency became aware of him and he has a chance of getting the help he needs. There’s so much need and suffering in Iraq and all over the world, and it feels good to have a chance to try and reduce it, just a little.

I’ll be telling friends about this as well.

I gave. Please keep us posted.