Kurdish refugees draw fresh hope

Shelter Now projects give refugees a new perspective

13. September 2016


Yazidi refugees harvest their own vegetables.

The vegetable garden has inspired fresh hope

We’ve received a very encouraging report recently: a number of refugees in Iraq have been harvesting their own vegetables this summer. Tomatoes, aubergines, cucumbers and other fruits are held up proudly for the camera.

For nearly two years now we’ve been supporting Yazidi refugees through our partners. They receive drinking water, food, sanitary products, baby food, warm clothes and blankets in the winter and other such essentials. They also receive training designed to help them cope with their difficult situation – and to deal with their traumatic experiences at the hands of the so-called Islamic State. They’re encouraged to make the best of their current situation.

This training is now bearing fruit – quite literally!

One extended family of 18 people has planted up a piece of wasteland next to their small refugee camp and has now had their first harvest. The head of the family, aged 65, is pictured in the top photo on the right. His daughters even gave our partners some of their fresh produce. They are so grateful for the hope that this initiative has given them.

Our partners told us about two of the men who were desperate to go to Germany:

"The pair were totally frustrated by their situation. They came to us again and again, asking us to help them leave the country. So we visited them a number of times and then had them go through our training course. We also asked them to help us distribute food and paid them some money for doing so. They are not amongst those who benefit from the aid project.

They worked very hard delivering food parcels. A few days ago they called us, saying they had decided not to go to Europe but to stay in Iraq. They had also got a little job.

They were very grateful to us for helping them out of their difficult circumstances and their frustrations, saying we’d given them fresh hope. They said they were now doing better and were happy.”

These are two very encouraging accounts that show Shelter Now is succeeding in its approach of seeking to help refugees in, or near, their homelands. We plan to continue on this path.