Operation Mercy Iraq provides a safe, fun, accessible, and consistent place for women to release stress, build community, and increase overall wellness through group fitness classes run in the refugee camps.
The project serves 200 women each month. Alia* is one of these women. Here is some of her story:
“I got married when I was 18 years old, but we didn’t have any children. The doctors gave me a lot of medication to regulate my hormones, but it also made me gain weight. I became so fat that I could barely move, and the doctor told me: “You have to lose weight in order to become pregnant!” At that point I weighed between 95 and 100 Kg and I was becoming increasingly depressed.
“One day I saw the fitness hall and when I asked about the program, I was invited to join. I immediately agreed. I exercised with the group and received a lot of help from the trainers. My emotional health improved a lot. I had been very tired and sad because of my unmet desire for children in my life.
“I still struggle with my emotions. However, I have been able to lose about 10 kg and I am working hard to continue to lose even more weight with your help and your effort on our behalf. The doctor told me that I should now be able to have children and my hormone levels are normal! With your prayers, support and effort, hopefully this will become true. May God bless us with children if he so wills.”
* Name changed