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A livelihood for six Iraqi families

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Fátima de Orbe PHOTO: Courtesy
Fatima de Orbe (ISSA'19) is administrative assistant of project "Santa Food Factory" which has enabled the start-up of a food bakery in Erbil. "I feel like I'm part of something big by helping out like this."
Chus Cantalapiedra

She says that she had never done a continuous volunteer activities beyond occasional visits to nursing homes and singing Christmas carols in a hospital on Christmas Eve. However, for Fatima de Orbe, a fourth-year student at ISSA School of Management Assistants, the documentary 'Guardians of Faith' was a turning point in her life when she realized that she could help many people by doing her part. She collaborated in the organization of the screening of the film in some cinemas in Pamplona and soon after decided to get involved in the project Santa Food Factory, of the NGO Humanitarian Nineveh Relief Organization (HNRO), with which the former students of the University of Navarra, Maconcha Orbe (DER 78) (Fatima's aunt) and Nuria Armendariz (ENF 81), had just become involved.

The project consists of the construction and start-up of a food workshop located in Ankawa, a Christian neighborhood of Erbil, which is dedicated to the production of sweets and savory products typical of the area. Its distribution is through direct sales to customers in the store or through catering services and celebrations: "What we manage is the collection of funds that we send to HNRO to cover investments in machinery and workers' salaries. Once we reach the figure we committed to, the project would end. The idea is that the plant will be able to operate on its own.

The workshop gives work to 6 people, fathers and mothers who have had to flee the cities of Mosul and Baghdad. "Our proceeds are their salary and family sustenance."

Fatima is the administrative assistant of project and is mainly in charge of the communication with HNRO and other tasks such as translation, essay of conference proceedings of meetings, preparation of presentations, revision and editing of documents...

"We raise funds to cover the investment in machinery and salaries.
The idea is that the workshop can then operate on its own."

He says that many of the things he has had to do he has been able to get through "applying knowledge learned during the degree program as Written and Oral Communication, Marketing, file, Public Relations, protocol and Languages, especially English and French".

I am helping to support six Christian families in Iraq," he says, "I feel like I am part of something big, because I am not turning my back on a terrible situation that many people are going through. I feel that I am part of something big, because I am not turning my back on a terrible status that many people are living through".

Last fall he traveled to Iraq to get to know the place and result how the money sent from there is managed. He emphasizes that he is left with the faith and hope of the families there, and with their ability to overcome and work. And he has engraved on his report some phrases he heard during his trip: "The Cross of Christ is what scares them the most, that is why it is the first thing they destroy and the first thing we raise"; "We must always remember what happened, it is part of our history and thanks to it our faith has been strengthened"; and "We know that there are sleeping Islamic cells, but we cannot be afraid and much less waste time".