Yellow, blue, red, green, children’s faces, women wearing traditional dress and clasping hands. Baghdad is making herself beautiful. Or rather, it is a group of young Iraqi volunteers who are making her beautiful. They have been roaming the streets of the capital of Iraq, making a different use of the blast walls that cut through it.
It is these blast walls that volunteers of Imprint of Hope have decided to change, it is the face of their city. Imprint of Hope has grown to over 400 volunteers. They are students, artists, professionals and bricklayers. “Our volunteers come from different ethnic and religious groups. With a passion that unites them: humanitarian service.”
Imprint of Hope does not only paint the walls of division, but have also painted the walls of hundreds of schools, orphanages and hospitals. One major work carried out by Imprint of Hope was in December, when for Christmas they painted the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Salvation, which was damaged in a terrorist explosion.
With their graffiti, they tell the story of the Iraq they would like, a country where different ethnic and confessional groups can once again live in peace. Where reconstruction can really start and where Iraq’s wealth is redistributed to the population, that now suffers due to an absence of services.
Then there is Imprint of Hope’s humanitarian assistance: “We have set up activities in the humanitarian fields and in education. We have organised campaigns to give help to the evacuees of Mosul and Anbar. We give them food, clothes and medicine.”
Everybody in Iraq now knows Imprint of Hope. There are also people who commission their work, which is useful for costs of paint and brushes, otherwise purchased with an $8 subscription per month by each volunteer. They give their time to paint but also to clean up the city, and other areas less served by Government institutions.