31-year-old Emad Obed Khalaf, a Yazidi man currently living with his family, in his village of Kany Aido (Sinjar), was deeply affected by ISIS’ brutality. Before ISIS razed and destroyed the lives of the Yazidi community, Emad owned a plumbing business, which included fixing and changing the plumbing needs of households in Kany Aido. Emad fondly remembers the joyous memories from his village, which were filled with wonderful family and friends.
“I am missing these incredibly happy moments and I hold these memories so dearly - I hope to make new memories full of joy and laughter in my special village of Kany Aido”
With a lot of sadness and grief, Emad describes his memories of ISIS’ barbarity; he remembers waking up in the morning (on the 3rd of August, 2014), hearing the frantic voices of villagers warning everyone that ISIS members were coming to destroy their village and murder everyone. Emad mentions running up onto the roof, looking at families fleeing towards safety.
“Just before ISIS entered and invaded Kany Aido, I spoke to my family members about escaping and since we didn’t have a car, we had to walk towards the mountain, which was a long and difficult journey”
After Emad and his family reached Sinjar mountain, they stayed there for nine days; this was followed by going towards Syria and finally, towards Kurdistan. In Kurdistan, Emad and his family stayed in an IDP camp for 4 years. After ISIS left Sinjar, Emad and his family went back home, but the situation was dire - there were no NGOs helping the Yazidi community, nor were there any open shops or businesses. For example, Emad had to travel to Sinuni or Tal Afer to purchase basic groceries.
After returning to his beloved village of Kany Aido, Emad re-opened his plumbing business - his family and his brothers are helping him with this endeavor. Additionally, Yazda and ASB have helped Emad in expanding his business by providing him with more tools and items that he can sell to customers.
“I want to profusely thank Yazda and ASB for their support, which has allowed my family and me for a restart. This conflict and ISIS’s brutality changed my life as I have lost dear friends, my income, and my business. Yazda and ASB helped me in setting up my business as a plumber and I am very grateful”
Emad plans on expanding his business and wants to employ people in order to help his community - he says his vast experience with plumbing will allow him to create a robust business model. Emad also states that the success of his business will encourage other members of the Yazidi community to return to their villages.
“I don’t want to move from Sinjar as not only are all my customers here, but I am able to support the community that I love so much. I am so happy that Yazda and ASB have supported the Yazidi community”