Army Captain Douglas Ray, Executive Officer for Team Nomad a Border Transition Team wants to bring musical instruments to Iraqi children in Kurdistan. Captain Ray is working with Mayor Serwan Sereni of Rwandz City who is an accomplished musician originally from Kurdistan. Mayor Sereni knows first-hand from his days waiting in line to play a school-owned violin the importance that access to instruments can have for budding musicians. Your donations to this project will supply violins, guitars, woodwinds and more for the 70 schools in the region.
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"I am the Executive Officer for Team Nomad. We are a Border Transition Team (BTT) of 11 officers and enlisted soldiers working as advisors to the Iraqi 1st Region, 2nd Brigade, Department of Border Enforcement (DBE) in the Irbil province of Iraqi Kurdistan. This unit is responsible for more than 240 kilometers of Iraq’s borders with Iran and Turkey. We are working to make them a more self-sustaining unit capable of securing the border in order to prevent the influx of weapons and bomb making materials into the country...
Captain Douglas Ray and Army "Team Nomad" now serving in Irbil Province, Iraq
We feel very fortunate to be working in this part of Iraq. Iraqi Kurdistan is often called "The Other Iraq". The security situation in the northern, predominantly Kurdish provinces is vastly improved when compared to the southern areas of the country that most Americans would be familiar with. The Kurds are perhaps the most hospitable people any of us on the team have ever worked with. We are completely embedded with our counterparts in a beautiful, mountainous area of the Irbil province. However, this area has not always been as it is now.
For decades the Kurdish people suffered at the hands of the Saddam Hussein regime. Whole villages were destroyed and many thousands of Kurds were either killed or simply fled to neighboring Iran or Turkey. Operation Iraqi Freedom has lifted that oppressive hand. Only in the last few years have the Kurds begun to return to their mountain homelands to rebuild and begin again.
I am also the Public Affairs Officer (PAO) for Team Nomad. It is my job to get the DBE front and center in the news and increase their standing amongst the populace. I work with the local, Kurdish media and many in civilian leadership positions in order to foster a better working relationship between the DBE and those around them. One such person is the mayor of the neighboring town of Rawanduz, Mr. Serwan Sereni. His life story is amazing and it is for him and his constituents that we ask for help.
Mayor Serwan Sereni
Mr. Sereni spent his childhood dodging Iraqi Army artillery shells with his family. When it was possible, he attended a small school three days out of each week for only a few hours each day. While at school, he waited in line to play one of three violins the school had. Mr. Sereni took to the violin and continued to practice despite the hardships faced by him and his family. Today, he is an accomplished, concert violinist who has been called the Itzhak Perlman of Kurdistan. After all of this, he was personally selected by the former Prime Minister of Kurdistan, Mr. Nechrivan Barzani, to be the mayor of Rawanduz. A selfless servant to his people, Mr. Sereni has left his wife and children in the United States to come back to his native Iraqi Kurdistan to lead.
Mr. Sereni would like to bring music and music education back to an area that has long suffered at the hands of others. He has 70 schools in the area ranging from mud hut village schools to more updated middle schools. There are no musical instruments at any of the schools he is responsible for. He is pictured here at a recent event with the Children's Orchestra of Rawanduz. The instruments in the picture represent the sum total of all the instruments the kids have to play.
Team Nomad is asking for your support to provide a few instruments to Mr. Sereni so that he may give the gift of music back to a region rich in musical and cultural heritage. We are looking for violins, guitars, wood wind and brass instruments (e.g., flutes, oboes, saxophones, clarinets, trumpets, etc.), and keyboards. If we could outfit each of the 70 schools with one of each type, it would make and immeasurable difference in the lives of the children."
Kids of Rawanduz need musical instruments
Army Captain Douglas Ray
Irbil Province, Iraq