Protective masks are difficult to obtain in Duhok's refugee shelters and camps. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to adapt the tailoring course offer for Yazidi women to current needs. For this purpose, 12 sewing machines are required in the Jinda Center so that the already trained Yazidi women can sew enough protective masks for their grandmothers, friends, children, and young people. In the fall of 2019, the Yazidi women and girls abducted and abused by the IS wanted a little normality in their lives and more knowledge of what to do in acute emergencies. Back then, nobody thought of a pandemic. This emergency abruptly interrupted group activities such as cooking, painting, excursions, games, and course attendance, which help to cope with trauma. Besides, through mobile support teams, it has become more complicated to connect to refugee accommodation and camps. If permitted by the responsible authorities, employees from the Jinda Center distribute medication and edibles and provide information about possible offers of assistance. These offers of help and the personal contacts guarantee stability and security for the Yazidi women and girls, who are mentally and physically affected by their traumatic experiences.
Since the arrival of the Islamic State (ISIS) in the Sinjar region of Northern Iraq in 2014, more than 350,000 Yazidis have fled to the Kurdish region of Northern Iraq. The Yazidis were reportedly systematically killed by ISIS. Over 5,000 children, often not older than 9 years, and women were abducted. They have been kept as forced laborers and sex slaves for months or even years. They had to stand fear and torture, and some witnessed family members were killed. Now that the ISIS is partially beaten, many of the abducted children, girls and women are free. Due to their traumatic experiences, they are mentally and physically deeply hurt and broken in their being. Many of them suffer from infectious diseases due to rape and maltreatment and are severely malnourished. In addition, many women and girls have also been pregnant by their tormentors. Their situation is dramatic, and they need not only emergency aid such as blankets and food but also intensive medical and psychological care.
In the Jinda Center, girls and women, despite their sad and hopeless situation, look to the future with confidence. Given the traumatic experiences suffered by girls and women and the sad everyday life in refugee camps, the center is a safe place where they can regularly meet, exchange information and receive psychological support.
The activities supported by Crosspoint Europe in the Jinda Center include: handicraft courses, candles courses, sewing courses and trauma therapies. This is also to teach the girls and women handicraft skills that they can use for their own benefit and as sources of revenue. Because of the severe traumatic experiences, the girls and women receive individualized trauma therapies as well as in groups.
Since 2017 in the Jinda Center Crosspoint Europe has been able to support around 1,000 women with their children, who were delighted to attend the courses. These activities serve in a first phase of psychological stabilization after the severe traumatic experiences. They aim to give the girls and women a sense of belonging and help them focus on something other than their terrible experience. It’s a great pleasure to see how women recover psychologically and how great they are at improving of their handicraft skills, and at confirming of the fact that these types of projects are an answer to their needs.
Sewing machines for protective masks
Entrance Jinda Center
Harvesting in the garden
Jinda Leader in action
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