Habibi International started serving refugees and IDPs in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in 2015, in the wake of the Yazidi genocide. We provided immediate relief through medical and dental aid, distributions of food packages, provision of generators and heaters, and visits to refugee shelters. Our work has shifted towards development in recent years, with the provision of more specialized healthcare services and community health projects in partnership with locals, as well as women’s programs, English teaching and youth mentoring. Our hope is to see the entire region restored.
The Yazidis are an ethnically Kurdish religious community who live primarily in the Nineveh province of Iraq. The Yazidis, who are monotheistic but not Islamic, have long been persecuted for their beliefs and ethnicity and have endured 72 genocides. In August 2014, ISIS militants overran and attacked the town of Sinjar and surrounding areas in a “forced conversion campaign,” executing thousands of Yazidi men and abducting thousands of women and children to be raped and used as sex slaves. About 50,000 Yazidis fled to the nearby Sinjar Mountains where they became trapped, surrounded by ISIS and facing starvation and dehydration. Those who were able to escape to safety now live in temporary tents and makeshift homes in Northern Iraq and surrounding areas, joining the population of 3 million displaced people in Iraq.
Building relationships. Earning the right to be heard. Planning and working alongside local leaders. Finding solutions to change the future for their kids and the next generation. Here’s what we’ve accomplished in 2018:
Empowered over 600 children in our English Camps
Trained staff at 3 different Iraqi based NGOs in mental health care
Provided medical & dental services in 6 UN camps to over 2,000 patients