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Iraq: why an attitude of gratitude makes all the difference for Mllko

What are you most thankful for? Your family, friends, home, health? In a small village in northern Iraq, the answer might surprise you ...

What are you most thankful for? Your family, friends, home, health? In a small village in northern Iraq, the answer might surprise you

Scientists have recently shown that expressing gratitude is a key to happiness. Perhaps this helps to explain why Mllko Fatir Mohammed is always smiling and laughing. “I laugh all the time. I wanted to join the police but he wouldn’t give me a license because he thought I was laughing at him.”

Mllko lives in Zanan Bchuk, a village in the north of Iraq. The area around Zanan Bchuk used to be a desert. “You couldn’t see a drop of water. You wouldn’t even have been able to be here because it was too hot and dry.” Mllko and his family would have to travel for miles to find water for their animals.

Christian Aid partner REACH came to Mllko’s village and helped them to build a reservoir. This reservoir captures water and allows Mllko to grow vegetables to feed his family with. “In the past, if we saw a tomato, we would die in pleasure. We didn’t have so many vegetables. Now we have cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, other vegetables and olives. We are so much better.” Mllko is thankful to REACH and the reservoir for giving his community food, health and happiness.

The story of Mllko and his village features in Christian Aid’s Count Your Blessings calendar, a resource to help you practise gratitude while simultaneously empowering you to make the world a better place for communities like Mllko’s.

You can order a copy by visiting or phoning 0870 078 7788. A special children’s version and one for 16 to 25-year-olds are also available. If you prefer to count your blessings on the go, download the handy app (complete with beautiful photos) from the Apple store or Google Play.

Can you bring stories like Mllko’s to your church?

Would you like to receive stories like Mllko’s on a regular basis? Or be inspired by prayers and worship materials about Christian Aid’s work? We rely on a network of churches and supporters in the UK and Ireland to give, act and pray with us on behalf of the world’s poor. Our Church Contacts help their churches to support us all year round.

Could you be Christian Aid’s contact in your church? Church Contacts receive e-mails every month and a folder of church resources four times a year, for Lent, Harvest, Christmas and Christian Aid Week. These include worship and prayer materials, campaign actions and fundraising tools. You can use as many or as few as you wish to get your church involved.

Click here to get started!

PHOTOS: Christian Aid / Sarah Malian

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