Address by May Al-Daftari
at MAIC's Farewell Dinner for MAIC Members, 24th May 2009

Starting Medical Aid for Iraqi Children as a British charity in 1995 was a great challenge. Iraq was under crippling UN Sanctions and had been devastated by wars. The breakdown of Iraq's institutions and the suffering of a whole nation was the driving force to rescue the most vulnerable part of society, children. I remember vividly how I went to Sabah Mahmoud's office one morning in 1994 to discuss with him the setting up of a charity to help Iraq's children.

A few months later MAIC was founded in January 1995 with three Trustees; Sabah Mahmoud, Professor Soad Tabaqchali and myself, and a Board of Governors of 10 members. Over the years new members have joined and some resigned.

At present MAIC's members consist of 6 Trustees, 14 Board of Governors, Honorary Members, the medical Team in Iraq, Jordanian Liaison Committee and Support Committee. I am proud to say that all the members, past and present, have shared in raising MAIC's image from a small charity into an internationally recognised charity gaining the respect of all sectors of society.

During the sanctions period MAIC's aid in providing the hospitals with their urgent needs was unparalleled. We all remember the difficult times we went through when sending medical supplies; we had to deal with tedious bureaucratic channels in seeking approval from the Sanctions Committee which used to take 6 - 9 months. We also remember the frustrating times we had when dealing with the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) to acquire the export licenses. Moreover delivery of the supplies to hospitals through gruelling land journeys was not an easy task.

Nevertheless our aid continued throughout the war of 2003 and six years after. During the period of nearly fifteen years we raised £3.774 million from our generous donors who have been a great support and the lifeline of MAIC, to whom we are extremely grateful. Our aid totalled over £3.5 million worth of supplies thus providing medical help to over 350,000 children.

We also should remember the good times we had in holding our annual dinners which were always a great success and the talk of the town.

Tonight, and sadly, we are coming close to MAIC's final chapter. Conditions in Iraq are stabilising slowly. The needs are changing and the emphasis should no longer be on providing emergency supplies but on long term medical projects. I very much hope that the younger generation both within and outside MAIC will carry on the banner and set up new projects with a more ambitious outlook.

To all MAIC members I thank and congratulate you for your great and unforgettable achievements and very much hope to take with us the wonderful bonds and friendships we have formed through MAIC into the years ahead.


Copyright ©2009 MAIC Medical Aid for Iraqi Children. Registered Charity Number 1044222