17. November 2017
Shelter Now Germany staff member Udo Stolte writes about his latest visit to see Yazidi refugees in Suleymaniya in northern Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region:
"I wanted to visit the refugees to ask if the projects that we’ve been doing with them over the past three years are still the rights one – whether they are helpful or whether we need to make changes. The response was very positive and the Yazidis are grateful for our help. But I discovered that the children were not in school. When I asked why, they said that they could not send their children alone to school, as in some cases it’s quite a distance, and that they did not have the money to pay for the school materials which each child has to have.
Being a teacher myself, I was shocked. Just over a year ago I know they were organizing their own lessons in an improvised school set up in a tent. I had thought this was still the case.
So with the new academic year just about to start, I promised that we would pay for the children to start school immediately – even though we did not have the money for it.
Back in Germany, my initial enthusiasm was somewhat tempered when I read the proposal from Iraq: the project would cost over US$19,000. But I had made a promise, so I immediately transferred the money for the first two months and applied to another Christian organization that we’re close to, for the rest. The organization very kindly agreed to fund the project (€13,000). Then came a surprise! A few days later we received almost exactly the sum that I had transferred for the first two months, in the form of a donation from a church that I was not previously aware of and that knew nothing about this project. Wow!
The children are now being driven to their schools every day, they’ve received a good set of books and pens and are delighted to finally be able to take part in classes again. And they’ve promised to work hard at school!”