RF 5: Hero angel, Malak
Welcome to Refugee Friday! Today is the FIFTH installment of Refugee Friday. Every Friday, through the end of the year, we're partnering with Preemptive Love to share the stories of refugee survivors across Syria and Iraq. Along with giving these survivors a voice to share their story, 50% of orders placed on Refugee Friday will go to Preemptive Love to contribute aid and relief efforts, but ultimately, to restoring dignity after desolation.
We'd like to introduce you to little Malak...
Her name means Angel in Arabic. Preemptive Love first met Malak in the desert camp outside Fallujah, while the war against ISIS raged. She had lost her mother and father and hadn't eaten in days.
Malak’s parents married young, and they died together. As Iraqi forces fought to liberate Fallujah and the surrounding countryside, a stray rocket or mortar hit her parents’ car, killing them both. “It took us 15 days to identify the bodies,” her grandmother said.
It’s hard to see people in their worst state and then have to move on. We don’t just want to be first-in when disaster strikes. We want to be last-to-leave. We want to see them through their darkest days and into a better future. These aren't just 'other people's children', they are our sisters and brothers enduring death and starvation while under siege.
That’s how it felt with Malak. So many children passed through those chaotic camps outside Fallujah—almost 90,000 people fled in just a few days—it was impossible to keep track of them all. Yet Malak lingered in our hearts. We kept wondering:
When can we see her again, at least to know she is OK?
Well, that day finally came.
After searching for her for months, Preemptive Love found she has returned to her hometown with her grandparents, where she lived before ISIS. Watching Malak smile through tears, you can't help but think this could be your child. We can't downplay the amount of loss and pain she has faced in her young life.
This isn't the end of Malak's story. She loves hopscotch and eats fruit almost exclusively—bananas, apples, and pomegranates are her favorites. Sometimes her grandmother manages to get her to eat rice and beans, but even that isn’t guaranteed.
She has hope for a future now. Shop with us and help secure the future of Malak and many children like her.