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Homeless in SF: 3yr old injured Iraqi boy & his father
A 3-year-old Iraqi boy whose hearing was destroyed by a missile blast in the Iraq war arrived in SF in December for a series of surgeries and rehabilitation. He and his father have been staying at Ronald McDonald House, but now must leave. They have no where to go & cannot afford SF rents. They may even stay in a homeless shelter! They need housing near the hospital where he receives ongoing treatment. If you have a room, apartment, whatever near Divisadero & Geary, contact Amy Skewes-Cox at amysc [at] rtasc.com
Subject: Mustafa about to be without housing
Dear Compassionate Homeowners;
Mustafa and his father Ghazwan are required to leave Ronald McDonald House in 14 days. RMH has been an incredibly wonderful place for them since their arrival on Dec. 31st and it is now time to move on. Ruth Friend has been working tirelessly since hearing this news on June 1, but no specific housing destination has been found. After much work on defining the best school for Mustafa, it has been determined that he will remain at the Hearing and Speech Center on Divisadero. For this reason, it would be best if the two of them could live within walking or bus distance (Divisadero and Geary). Some wonderful offers of housing in Tiburon and Berkeley have been made, but these two locations make the commute quite difficult. Ideally, we would like free or very inexpensive housing from July 1 to December., assuming that by that time, Ghazwan's wife will have arrived and Ghazwan can seriously search for work. _But our FIRST PRIORITY is to find housing for at least one month starting on July 1. _With the federal and state assistance provided to Ghazwan as an asylee, he may be able to live in a shelter in San Francisco. It is not our first priority by any means but it may be necessary. However, we have no guarantee that space in a shelter will be available on July 1.
If you know of anyone who might have a basement or attic apartment, or room to share in a home, even for one month, could you help out? Many thanks for any help you can provide. '
Please contact Amy Skewes-Cox: amysc@rtasc. com
KTVU STORY ON MUSTAFA:
Iraqi Boy Injured In War Arrives In Bay Area For Surgery
Posted: 6:38 pm PST December 31, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO -- A 3-year-old Iraqi boy whose hearing was destroyed by a missile blast in the Iraq war was greeted at San Francisco International Airport Wednesday morning by spectators, balloons, TV cameras and many of those responsible for initiating the grassroots effort that brought him to the Bay Area for reparative ear surgery and rehabilitation.
Mustafa Ghazwan, who lost his hearing on June 17, 2007 when a U.S. missile struck near his home in the Iraqi city of Baqouba, smiled and waved from his father's arms at the welcoming party assembled behind the glass at the arrivals gate at SFO.
Scattered throughout the crowd were members of the informal coalition of community groups that arranged to underwrite the medical care needed to restore Mustafa's hearing and repair his ability to speak and interact, a process that could take up to four months and is not available to him in Iraq.
"His brain will have to be totally retrained," said Dan Lowenthal, a neurologist and member of the Iraq Action Group at UC San Francisco, where Mustafa will receive a donated cochlear implant in an operation on Jan. 17.
Dr. Lawrence Lustig, director of the UCSF Douglas Gran Cochlear Implant Center, will perform the operation pro bono, according to Lowenthal.
"Then he'll have about four months of rehabilitation, speech therapy and hearing therapy," Lowenthal said.
Barbara Rowe, a pastor at Tiburon's Westminster Presbyterian Church, said her parish raised the funds to pay for Mustafa's rehabilitative aftercare.
"We had a potluck fundraiser luncheon where church members brought different Iraqi dishes," said Rowe, who later waved miniature American and Iraqi flags at Mustafa and his dad.
Amy Skewes-Cox, a Marin County resident and a driving force behind the campaign to bring Mustafa to the U.S., was in the group meeting him at baggage claim where he opened presents and tossed balloons back and forth with reporters.
"He's the cutest little guy I've ever seen in my life," Skewes-Cox said.
Skewes-Cox wanted to do something to help Iraqi civilians impacted by the American-led occupation, and was eventually put in touch with Cole Miller, founder of the nonprofit No More Victims, who singled out Mustafa as a candidate for help in February 2008.
Mustafa's father, Ghazwan Al-Nidawi, said through a translator that he waited with his son in Amman, Jordan for more than five months before being granted a visa to travel to the U.S.
He thanked his benefactors profusely throughout his arrival.
Mustafa and his dad will stay at housing provided by Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco for the duration of their trip.