New self-esteem and manual skills for Yezidi women

The international Christian aid organization Shelter Now is supporting the establishment of a center in northern Iraq for women who were enslaved by the terrorist militia IS. “A small Christian community is helping them to cope with their traumas,” announced the German Shelter Now director Udo Stolte. After their deportation, the Yezidins had had to endure rape and beatings for years; now they were to be given a new sense of self-worth.

According to Stolte, the center will be built in the small town of Baadre, northeast of Mosul. More than 10,000 Yezidi had fled to Baadre when the IS 2014 attacked their homes in the region of Sinjar. According to estimates, the terrorist militia had killed thousands of members of the religious minority in Sinjhar, kidnapped and enslaved over 6,000 women and children. After the military defeat of the I.S., many now returned to their families, said Stolte, but half of the prisoners are still missing.

Employees of a Christian community in Erbil, the capital of the Autonomous Province of Kurdistan, began working in the city of Baadre as early as 2015. “They have been trained in methods of trauma management,” reports Andreas Ziehr from the Shelter Now board of directors. Once the week the aids drove so far to Baadre, in order to help the former IS-Sklavinnen to win again confidence to itself and then also to other humans.

The work will now be expanded into a center of its own, open daily, in which three Yezidi teachers will work alongside the director and an assistant. “The girls and women need a protected space with regular community,” says Stolte. There they should also learn skills such as sewing or hairdressing in order to be able to earn their own money later. Music and sports courses are also planned.

In a refugee camp near Baadre, Shelter Now also supports a center for about 90 traumatized children between the ages of six and 14 who lost their parents in the IS terror. Eight Yezidi teachers look after the children there according to the principles of the Montessori pedagogy, Stolte describes. Shelter Now provided them with training in trauma management and bought playground equipment.

Brunswick, June 13, 2019