Traumatized children in Northern Iraq experience community, respect and encouragement
It is a small, colorful paradise in the middle of the dusty refugee camp near Baadre in northern Iraq: Around 90 girls and boys play and learn in the children’s center. They are all Yezidi and have lost their parents in the terror of the IS militias. The international Christian aid organization Shelter Now is now supporting the operation of the center, which is run by employees of a church congregation, with 2,500 euros per month, thus covering half of the costs.
Around 8,000 refugees, who had saved themselves from the terror against the Yezidis in the region of Sindschar in 2014, live in the camp near the small town of Baadre. “You can’t imagine what these people have experienced,” says German Shelter Now director Udo Stolte. The children between the ages of five and 15 who are looked after in the “Child Center” are severely traumatized. Her parents died in the fighting or were executed by the IS.
The center has been operating in the Baadre refugee camp for 18 months. Helen, the director, already sees considerable changes in the boys and girls: “They have a sparkle in their eyes that they had lost through the terrible experiences with the IS henchmen. Values such as mutual respect, help in difficulties, comfort and encouragement are what Helen and her colleagues want to convey.
Acht jesidische Lehrerinnen, die selbst im Flüchtlings-Camp leben, arbeiten mit den Kindern in Anlehnung an die Grundsätze der Montessori-Pädagogik. The center has good pedagogical material with which the little ones work individually, in pairs or in groups. Even before Shelter Now began providing regular support to the Child Center, the teachers had received training in trauma management and bought equipment for the playground.
Shelter Now director Stolte announced that Baadre will soon be able to launch the planned trauma management center for former IS slaves. The official approval is now available. “In this way, we are significantly expanding the trauma work that has so far only been done on an outpatient basis,” explained Stolte. In a protected environment, the girls and women could experience community, learn manual skills and participate in music and sports courses. Shelter Now expects about 400 women to participate in the program over the next two years.
Brunswick, October 28, 2019
About Shelter Now
Shelter Now is an international relief organization with a coordination office in Germany. It was active in Pakistan from 1983 to 2016. Work began in 1988 in Afghanistan and in 2014 in the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan (Northern Iraq). The name of the organization in Germany is “Shelter Now Germany e.V.”. Shelter Now finances its relief efforts to a large extent from private donations. Since 2006, the German Central Institute for Social Issues (DZI) has annually certified Shelter Now’s efficient and project-related use of funds with the donation seal of approval.