VETERANS REBUILDING LIFE A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on assisting veterans and children harmed in the crossfire of war. Instead of replicating services already available, we focus on areas that lack support and provide direct-impact solutions that have a proven record of success. 100% of all contributions made to VRL directly aide this humanitarian mission. No profit is made and all donations are tax-deductible.
Our diverse and committed members come from all walks of life, gender, culture and creed. To ensure inclusion and equality, our humanitarian programs are developed using input from every member of the organization. To create a just and peaceful world, we believe everyone must have access to quality education and employment opportunities. To accomplish these objectives, we partner with like-minded organizations and individuals who belong to the very communities we serve and support.
August 14, 2022 — UKRAINE
UKRAINE CRISIS RESPONSE - Veterans Rebuilding Life (VRL) responded to an emergency request for assistance to help a young Ukrainian family of 4, relocate from war-torn Ukraine, to the safety of Canada's borders. VRL secured a donor willing to sponsor their flight to Canada, including the needs of transporting their young daughters cat, affectionately named: “Kitty.” Kateryna, (along with her 6 year-old brother Dmytro, parents Olena and Vitalii, and pet Kitty) are now in Calgary, Canada. The family are embarking upon this new stage of life, free of the horror of war and the grave concern for their safety—a much needed fresh start for all five of them. 2 weeks into their Canadian journey, family and feline are doing very well. Vitalii is starting a new job this coming Monday and they’ve found long-term accommodation to settle into. Olena also secured a job that she will start when the children begin the school year in a couple of months. She tells me that the children have made friends already and are very happy.
April 21, 2022 — IRAQ
CHILD MEDICAL MISSION – Veterans Rebuilding Life first encountered Harith through a video shared by an Iraqi non-profit in Mosul, where the toddler was playfully running, chased by his anxious father who was making sure his son does not trip and fall, because that can be fatal. Harith, age 4, suffered a head trauma which led doctors in Iraq to remove nearly half of his skull, to let the brain swelling go down. Harith was fitted with a titanium plate to replace the removed bone tissue, only to have it infected weeks later. This led to exasperating pain and a worm infestation in his skull. Harith underwent an emergency surgery where the titanium plate was removed, and the infection treated and cleaned. But it left Harith with a third of his brain exposed under his scalp. This is when Harith’s parents sought the support of the Iraqi Institute for Development, a local non-profit and VRL’s partner on the ground in Iraq. They, like many families in Mosul, lost their home and livelihoods as a result of ISIS decimating their city. A follow up surgery to refit the child with a second titanium plate was out of their price-range. VRL advocated for the child and connected with INARA, a regional non-profit based out of Turkey that helps war wounded children by matching them with medical providers and covering the cost of treatment. When Inara accepted Harith’s case, IID facilitated travel arrangements and booked flights with VRL funding for both the father and the child. Harith spent weeks in Turkey with his father where he underwent surgery and rehabilitation, supported and funded by INARA, after which he returned to Iraq. VRL and IID received a video of the little boy running around and cheerfully bouncing on a mattress with his cousins. This time Harith was filmed by his carefree father. VRL extends its thanks and gratitude to INARA for saving this little boy’s life.
March 30, 2022 — IRAQ
CHILD MEDICAL MISSION – Noor was a malnourished 12-year-old girl, weighing less than 60 pounds, from war-torn Mosul, Iraq and suffering from a congenital heart defect. Noor lives with her family of nine in a single room after they lost their home as a result of ISIS attacks on her city. The child came to the attention of Veterans Rebuilding Life through an appeal by the Iraqi Institute for Development (IID), an Iraqi non-profit helping ISIS victims in Mosul. She was diagnosed with patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), or an opening between heart blood vessels. If untreated, Noor would have continued to suffer from poorly oxygenated blood flowing in the wrong direction and weakening the heart muscle which in time would have led to heart failure. To raise funds necessary, Veterans Rebuilding Life partnered with a California based non-profit, Without Borders (WB), which provides medical, educational and relief aid to vulnerable communities in the US, Iraq, and Syria. With WB’s funding, VRL’s coordination and IID’s logistical support on the ground, Noor underwent a laparoscopic surgery to seal the damaged blood vessels. The surgery was a success and Noor was sent home, fully recovered with new clothes and school supplies.
February 28, 2022 — USA
AFGHAN REFUGEE MISSION – After two decades of war, Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul was captured by the Taliban in August of 2021, the result of a military offensive which led to the overthrow of the Afghanistan Government, under the failed leadership of President Ashraf Ghani, who abandoned his people and surrendered control to the Taliban. Thousands of Afghan families were left to die at the hands of the Taliban, who swore vengeance against all who supported U.S. Forces during the 20 year war. Despite this, the U.S. provided no exit strategy for their allies to escape torture and death under Taliban rule. In response, a coordinated effort between nonprofit organizations and military personnel in Afghanistan, took it upon themselves to assist families escape into bordering Turkey, where they could apply for temporary asylum. Those who made it across the border, were put in contact with Veterans Rebuilding Life, who acted as liaison for families applying for citizenship through the U.S. Embassy. Those who were successfully cleared by homeland security were granted permission to fly to the U.S. for relocation. Veterans Rebuilding Life collaborated with the International Rescue Committee, (IRC) and Open Door, a NY based charity, to assist arriving families secure adequate housing, furniture, and employment upon arriving to the U.S. where they would begin their new lives.
January 20, 2022 — USA
PANDEMIC RESPONSE – Veterans Rebuilding Life revised its mission to respond to Covid-19, which paralyzed the United States and the world. Based out of Queens, NY, VRL was at the epicenter of the pandemic. Within the first 3 months VRL raised more than $10,000 in cash in addition to pro-bono services and distributed over 50,000 PPE items including masks, latex gloves and hand sanitizer to essential workers on the frontline across the five boroughs. Two years later the impact of the pandemic still resonates especially in lower income communities, of working families, many of whom lost their jobs as the result of the pandemic. Among those is a grassroots charity in Jamaica, Queens JITA.ORG brought to VRL’s attention by one of its supporters, a frontline worker with the NYC Fire Department (FDNY). “The most difficult thing we experienced is when we had a food shortage, there was a line of about 300 people. We’d never experienced anything like that.” —Danette Rivera, Founder, JITA.ORG The charity, ‘Jesus is the Answer’ provides local and refugee families free food and essential items including baby diapers and formula, cleaning products, clothes and school supplies. It relies on private donations and the NYC Food Bank. VRL made an assessment of what Ms. Rivera needed to meet the demand from her community. VRL then rallied its members, including veterans and NYC first responders and raised $2,000 to purchase appliances to store and prepare food including a microwave, a fridge and a freezer and a year’s supply of baby formula, wipes and diapers in addition to PPE. VRL believes in sustaining the fabric of communities that support it. Among those are populations that cannot ask for help despite them being paralyzed the most by the pandemic. ‘We started making signs in Spanish and posting them everywhere, saying that if you’re undocumented, if you need PPE and nobody’s helping, here’s the pickup address’ said Dre Popow, VRL co-founder. The next morning, there was a line around the block with Hispanic people, well over 100 people.’ ‘I’m just thankful that we’re able to open our doors as long as we have, and hope to be able to keep them open,’ said Rivera.
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