WISCASSET — Ten students at Chewonki’s Maine Coast Semester have collaborated to create a fundraising project to help bring a young Iraqi girl to Maine Medical Center for treatment. The students have designed and are selling canvas grocery bags, sending all the proceeds to No More Victims, the nonprofit organization that will bring Nora, a 6-year-old girl, to Maine in June.
Nora was riding in her family car when a bullet shot by U.S. forces shattered the front portion of her skull. She has had several surgeries in Iraq, but now needs a prosthetic skull replacement along with plastic surgery not currently available there. Dr. James Wilson of Maine Medical Center and the Ronald McDonald House in Portland are donating their services, but there are many other costs not covered for the Iraqi family’s 3-6 month stay.
The Chewonki students are part of a growing number of people in southern Maine who are learning about Nora’s upcoming visit, offering support, and looking forward to welcoming her here. “It seems important to raise awareness that there are always civilians who get hurt in war” said Audrey Boochever, one of the Chewonki students who has helped to organize the project.
Four Chewonki students working on the project are from Maine, including Chelsie Glover from Kennebunk, Katlyn Keane from Bethel, Zoë Mason from Damariscotta, and Samantha Hersom from Edgecomb. They are joined by a number of groups in southern Maine are who working on similar fundraising efforts to support Nora’s visit.
The canvas bags, which read “Seed of Hope, Seed of Trust, Seed of Life, Seed of Unity, Seed of Love — Plant a Seed” can be purchased for $12 each and are found locally at Wilson’s Pharmacy in Bath, Now You’re Cooking in Bath, at Eveningstar Cinema and Frontier Café + Cinema + Gallery in Brunswick. They are also being sold in Portland at Communiqués in the Old Port and at the Meg Perry Center on Congress Street. Proceeds from the student project go directly to help Nora.
“It seems like a very meaningful way for Maine Coast Semester students to harness their creativity and take part in projects benefiting the larger community,” said Chewonki English Teacher Amy Rogers. “Hopefully this project will inspire the community to raise awareness for the civilians hurt in Iraq by our own troops.”
Sue West, the Chewonki faculty coordinator noted, “I am so impressed by the compassion and energy these students have shown throughout this project. They all wanted to help this little girl get the medical care she needed.”
No More Victims does more than evacuate children for medical help. They also send funds to medical centers in Iraq to take care of many more civilians than could be evacuated. Bringing Nora and others like her who need special care to our shores is important too, not only because certain procedures can’t be done there, but because it creates a way for communities of Americans to offer some help to the people of Iraq via a very personal connection.
To learn more about No More Victims, go to www.nomorevictims.org