Rosemary Tulett

“I’ve traveled to 30 countries but Kurdistan will be the country that, for the rest of my life, I will care most passionately about,” says Rosemary Tulett. “I’ll never get the people of Kurdistan out of my heart.”

2007 staff achievement awards: feature

January 10, 2008

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Humanitarian award-winner Rosemary Tulett has worked in places like India, Nepal and Colombia, but it is her work with Iraqi Kurdistan orphans that is most meaningful to her.

Tulett, secretary to the dean of arts and social sciences, joined SFU in 2001 after completing a master’s degree in intercultural studies. She previously spent 20 years working for a Christian aid organization based in Amsterdam.

One of her projects involved helping establish a physiotherapy clinic for disabled children in Iraqi Kurdistan, as well as teaching English during her extended visits there. On one of those visits, a friend at a Kurdish aid organization asked for her help in finding sponsors for 10 orphans. She agreed, despite knowing that it would become a personal, long-term commitment.

In fact, her tireless campaign to find sponsors has raised about $250,000 over the past 14 years to sponsor more than 100 children made fatherless by Saddam Hussein’s genocidal campaign against the Kurds in the late ‘80s.

With assistance from her mother, Marguerite Tulett, she has written thousands of letters to sponsors, always ensuring that the children’s monthly payments arrive on time. Together they cover their administrative costs so that all funds go to the children via the Kurdish aid organization.

Tulett has returned to Iraqi Kurdistan six times at her own expense (most recently last May) to visit the children and their care-givers. She interviews each child, then sends photos and stories to their sponsors. Some of the children face special difficulties such as landmine injuries or other disabilities.

“Every trip back is a highlight in my life,” says Tulett. “I’m always so moved by the strength of these people under atrociously unjust situations, as well as by their warm hospitality.”

Some of the children have now graduated from high school and some hope to attend university. For Tulett, who has no children of her own, the experience has been extremely rewarding.
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