On Saturday September 24th, 2016, Nahwa collaborated with Open Hands Iraq on a live Skype stream to interview a community of 16 Yazidi families who were displaced from their homes in the Sinjar mountains since 2014, and now live in an abandon construction site in Erbil, capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. This community has about 150 family members, 90% of them women.
One of the questions asked of each interviewee was what they felt were the three most important things that will help the current situation these families are facing. Their answers included safety and security, protection from the upcoming rainy weather (tarps to repair dripping tents), kerosene for heat and cooking, healthy food, medical treatment, and access to education for the children. A majority of the families have members with serious medical issues, and urgently require medical care. Nahwa is reaching out to the health care industry to support our Urgent Medical Campaign. On even the most general level, the population of this Yazidi encampment requires basic over the counter medical supplies, and since rainy weather is approaching, the common cold and the flu will be spreading throughout the campsite.
The families interviewed had tremendously impactful stories to tell. One mother explained that her eldest daughter was killed by ISIS, and has left her with extreme anguish. Another extended family told of a harrowing trip being driven from their homes by ISIS, being captured and tortured, and then escaping in their car while part of a caravan, with their car hit by more than 200 bullets. They found temporary refuge in the mountains, and then eventually walked all the way from their hiding place to Erbil, going without food for five days, relying on only grass to eat. One thing that most of these families unfortunately have in common is that they have sisters and daughters who were captured by ISIS and haven’t seen them since.
Despite all of this trauma and all of the necessities this community is lacking, they still remain strong, willing and eager to resolve the crisis. They are extremely grateful to be given a secure and safe area to live after being caught in the severe atrocities the Yazidi people experienced in 2014 at the hands of ISIS. They are seeking basic essentials as well as an opportunity to improve their lives. Please give this community an opportunity by donating now.
To contribute goods or services or to donate funds that will be used to purchase goods and services, please call Nahwa at +1.202.802.6082, or e-mail to info@NahwaNow.org.
Thank you for your support.
Today marked the official launch of Nahwa, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing humanitarian aid to refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, focusing especially on the needs of women, children, and families.
The semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) division of Iraq is currently host to more than 3,000,000 refugees from neighboring countries, mostly Syria and IDPs from various conflict zones in Iraq. Refugees and IDPs make up more than one-third of the present-day population of the northern Iraq. The KRG has been a welcoming host to these victims, providing a safe haven and some assistance. The United Nations High Commission on Refugees along with other NGOs have been contributing to the relief effort, but there is a critical shortfall. Nahwa wants to fill that gap.
"It is Nahwa's mission to provide aid and organize assistance programs for women and children who have been displaced by the cruelties of war and other conflict in the region, regardless of their religion, nationality, or ethnicity," explains Ms. Zubeida Al-Alawi, Founder and President of Nahwa. "We see humanitarian aid to these populations not only as absolutely necessary for immediate relief, but also as providing a foundation for the long-range. This is reflected in our motto, Amidst Adversity, Eyes on a Better Future."
Nahwa's programs center around three major areas:
In addition to Ms. Al-Alawi, Nahwa's executive team includes Dennis Reynolds, Vice President of Strategy and Programs. Mr. Reynolds has held leadership positions in a number of child-focused organizations, including as a Vice President at KaBOOM! and as Executive Director of the Child Life Council.
Take action and learn more by visiting www.NahwaNow.org. Echo your voice on twitter @NahwaNow, or join our team: info@NahwaNow.org
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