Kadeeja’s family lives in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq. They are shoemakers, weavers of “klash,” a handmade shoe common in the region. They sell their shoes at the local market, and some are bought by Preemptive Love. This organization sells the klash on its website to consumers across the world, and uses the money generated to fund heart surgeries for Iraqi children. A relative of Kadeeja’s approached a Preemptive Love staff member in the market to say that there was child in his family who was in desperate need of heart surgery. Could they help Kadeeja?

Kadeeja was sixteen years old when her relative spoke with Preemptive Love, and the defects in her heart were taking a toll on her life. She was exhausted by any exertion and limited in what she could do. Furthermore, pulmonary hypertension, the over-working of her heart, threatened to bring her life to an early end.

Preemptive Love agreed to take on Kadeeja’s case. This meant finding funding to pay for the surgery and related care, as well as for travel to a country where the surgery could be performed. It also meant arranging the surgery, aftercare, visas, transport and accommodation. She was a high-risk patient who had in fact been previously turned down for surgery. Nonetheless, Preemptive Love managed to arrange for Kadeeja’s treatment with a hospital in Turkey. And so, with all the excitement of a 16 year-old leaving her home country for the first time, Kadeeja set off in mid January, 2009. The surgery was a complete success, and on February 2, 2009, she returned home healthy and ready to begin a new life unrestrained by illness.

A major source of funding for Preemptive Love is the shoes made by Kadeeja’s family and other families like hers in northern Iraq. The organization buys shoes at the local markets, paying fair market price, then sells them on its website to buyers overseas through Buy Shoes. Save Lives . One hundred percent of the profits from the shoe sales go toward Preemptive Love’s heart program. This system has the additional benefit of opening markets to the shoemakers that would otherwise be unavailable, resulting in higher incomes for them and their families.

Saving lives by repairing hearts is the core of Preemptive Love’s mission. There are, however, other advantages to the organization’s work. Successfully transporting a child to another country for major surgery requires a great deal of cooperation from a great number of people. With Preemptive Love’s work, this cooperation often occurs across divisions that are commonly regarded as insuperable barriers. The Kurdish people have been at odds with Turkey for years, yet Kadeeja, a Kurdish child, was saved by Turkish doctors. Preemptive Love has funded surgeries for Iraqi children in Israeli hospitals, allowing Jewish doctors to save Muslim children. Americans, Iraqis, Israelis, and Turks end up being simply people, not adversaries, working together to save lives. Given the long history of conflict in the region and the recent wars, anything that encourages cooperation and minimizes divisions is a blessing. When these actions save children’s lives it is a true gift indeed.

Preemptive Love

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