NMV began in late 2002 as the invasion of Iraq approached. We have two core objectives: to help communities create solidarity projects for children injured by US forces abroad, and to advocate and educate for peace. We conceived that the work would unfold in three phases:
Phase I: Complete projects to demonstrate the feasibility and value of the model.
Phase II: Assist fully independent groups to organize their own project from the ground up.
Phase III: Share our experience by helping community groups around the country form independent projects, and to focus our activities on peace advocacy, outreach and education.
During Phase I, we connected communities across the country with war-injured children who were in desperate need of medical treatment. We secured medical reports, raised funds, evacuated children from war zones, traveled to the Middle East to provide accompaniment, developed media plans, organized travel and logistics, and obtained visas for the children and accompanying parents. Local communities organized pro bono treatment, housing, local logistics and media outreach, translation services, and tended to the daily needs of parents and children during treatment. Peace communities hosted children in Los Angeles, Austin, Houston, Orlando, Orange, Pittsburgh, Boston, Greenville SC, Portland ME, Portland OR, and San Francisco. Hundreds of volunteers gave generously of their time and talents.
Each project is based on a simple working premise: If you oppose militarism and aggression, help the victims and tell the story. Make the injustice visible. The projects succeeded due to the dedicated efforts many people. These local, grassroots efforts were designed to provide war-injured children with desperately needed medical care that could not be obtained in their war ravaged country, and to show the human face of collateral damage. These stories penetrated the mainstream media, and thousands of Americans experienced war through the eyes of a child injured by American airmen and soldiers - a rare experience.
In the second phase of the project, a group in Grand Rapids formed Healing Children of Conflict to apply the NMV model independently. NMV helped connect HCC with an Iraqi boy, Hamza, who lost his leg in a US air strike. We consulted with HCC as the project unfolded. HCC raised and administered the necessary funding, arranged pro bono treatment for Hamza, and hosted the boy and his father. It was the first project in which a fully independent group successfully implemented the model.
Now we are working on phase three. We'll continue to facilitate projects for local groups, helping them to apply the model, while focusing our energies on peace advocacy and education. We rebuilt the website to better organize and distribute information about the affects of militarism at home and abroad. We continue to edit hundreds of hours of video footage capturing every aspect of earlier projects: interviews with community organizers and the doctors who treated the children; searing personal testimony about what it is like to live under the bombs; the children's treatment and physical rehabilitation in communities across the country. Brief videos will be posted periodically at the site, and we continue to work on a feature length documentary.