A Refugee Camp Called “Dream City” Is Finally Living up to its Name, Thanks to These Doctors

Dream City is a strange name for a displacement camp. Then again, this unfinished residential complex, located in the heart of Iraq, was never meant to house refugees. Thousands of families took shelter here last year, as the battle against ISIS moved north toward Mosul, and they haven’t been able to return home yet.

The medical needs of these Dream City families are unrelenting.

It’s not unusual for doctors at our Dream City clinic to see multiple patients from the same family, at the same visit. Residents of this unofficial camp for displaced Iraqi families experienced a lot of problems with respiratory issues over the last few months—not surprising for families who spent the winter and spring in makeshift homes without adequate protection from the elements.

It was more serious though when a mom came last month with her daughter and another female relative. One of our clinic doctor noticed symptoms that suggested tuberculosis—but he needed tests run to be sure.

The Dream City clinic is also known as the Peace Zone. Doctors here are unmaking violence—one mended wound, one healed illness at a time. The clinic continues to fill a unique role for families who were displaced by ISIS and are doing their best to get by until they can return home.

But these doctors take the time to care for patients beyond their physical needs, too. They’re helping children and families to dream once more. Thanks to them, this place, Dream City, is finally starting to live up to its name.

“Let me introduce you to my friend Moayad.”

That’s how one of the Dream City doctors began a recent message to us.

“[Moayad] came to us a while ago for problems with his respiratory system. Now he is recovering well and came back for a follow-up and refill visit. He asked me, ‘How does it feel to be a doctor?’ And so, Dr. Moayad was born!”

Sometimes people–even children–just need to be heard. Young Aysha (pictured above, right) is having a difficult time watching her older sister go to school each day without her. Aysha is desperate to be old enough to go to school too! It’s hard to be young sometimes. The doctors at Dream City listen to her concerns and validate her feelings. “We are thinking of giving her a surprise gift in the coming days,” they tell us.

“I came here only to talk to you because that makes me feel better.”

The older woman who spoke these words is a regular visitor to our clinic. She saw her entire life taken away because of the war with ISIS—our doctors know that the little windows of time they give her are invaluable to her wellbeing.

The clinic is even becoming a hub for identifying potential new business owners! The Dream City camp is an unfinished real estate development—there aren’t jobs in this place. There is nothing for displaced mothers and fathers to do. But that’s changing. The small business empowerment grants that you provide are creating fresh opportunity for residents, where no opportunity existed before.

The family that was sent to be tested for tuberculosis—the tests came back positive. At the Dream City clinic, they received medication, face masks, and the training they needed to prevent the disease from spreading to the rest of their family and neighbors. Housing at Dream City is very crowded, so diseases like tuberculosis can quickly spread through whole communities. The presence of a clinic in their community, and early detection made all the difference!

You were there for Dream City families, doctors, and clinic staff—in so many ways—at just the right time.

Without you, this clinic would not be a reality. Thank you for supporting these doctors as they unmake the violence in the lives of displaced families. Please keep showing up so that these families have their needs met—whether they need stitches, a listening ear, a prescription, or the chance to dream.

Help doctors unmake violence and remake the world for displaced families in Dream City.