Women’s Center

Since early 2015, Yazda has run a case management platform to better serve female survivors of ISIL enslavement. This case management platform has helped over 1,000 female victims..

 

In August 2014, the Islamic State abducted thousands of Yazidi women and girls, who were subjected to rape, violence, forced conversions to Islam, and married to ISIS militants. These atrocious acts were part of an attempt of the Islamic State to eliminate Yazidi culture. Many women have now been released or escaped while others remain in the hands of ISIS/ISIL. These survivors of captivity and enslavement require a significant amount of psychological support and care.

Since early 2015, Yazda has run a case management program to assist survivors. A Women’s Center has been established that runs weekly support groups, baking classes, handicraft classes, gives one-on-one psychological support, and provides material aid. A case manager is assigned to each woman, who tracks her progress and monitors needs. To date, Yazda has assisted over 1050 survivors of enslavement and captivity.Yazda also maintains one of the largest databases of women held by ISIS/ISIL. Through this database, women are tracked and provided services by both Yazda and government authorities.

 

Video: How Yazda is supporting ISIS survivours? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UO04y9Ac3I 

 

This case management platform achieves five key objectives for Yazda:

1. Provides urgent humanitarian aid to victims upon rescue, including but not limited to food, clothing, and medical needs

2. Improves rescue services by compiling data on key locations, victim demographics, and networks of victim enslavement in Iraq in efforts to more effectively assist the Iraqi government

3. Identifies areas for improvement regarding Yazda’s rehabilitative program that will lead to making data driven decisions

4. Builds capacity and infrastructure within the organization by streamlining the process to report required data/outcomes to third party funders, and allows for data to be utilized in showing the efficacy of the programming to increase our funding sources

5. Enhances coordinated care for victims post rescue by creating a readily accessible database system that integrates all personal client data, including intake information, case notes, location, legal documents, medical records, appointments, and incident reports.

As mentioned above, the case management platform achieves five key objectives for Yazda:

First, with the implementation of the case management platform, Yazda has been able to provide urgent humanitarian aid to victims upon rescue, including but not limited to food, clothing, and medical needs.

Secondly, through the platform Yazda has been able to compile information gathered during interviews, including the key demographics of victims (age, nationality, fluency in English, etc.) and identify gaps in service needs based on data. Furthermore, Yazda also strives to collect data on the locations where victims were held. Through this information, Yazda hopes to better understand the physical and emotional needs of each victim it serves, as well as target locations and provide coordinated and detailed intel to the Iraqi government to increase rescue efforts.

Thirdly, itemizing services is more manageable on this platform, i.e. the number of services provided for psychological support in a given period of time. This information will drive critical decisions at Yazda, which will improve the quality of treatment for the program as a whole.

Fourthly, through managing data electronically, Yazda is able to quickly calculate key statistics, such as the number of meals served to victims, the number of victims in the base camps, and the number of referrals for support services, that is required by third party funders. This allows us to assess and report the efficacy of the programming to additional funders to expand and build capacity/infrastructure. For example, Yazda utilizes this comprehensive database to work with the Iraqi government to issue monthly stipends for survivors. Approximately 700 applications have been submitted, 250 of which were authorized and the remainder of which are in progress. Yazda has also leveraged this database in working with the Red Cross to provide one-time financial support of 300,000 Iraqi Dinars to 500 survivors.

Fifthly, by creating a readily accessible database system that integrates all of the survivors’ personal data, this platform enables survivors to receive specialized care. For instance, how one victim handles emotional counseling will differ from another victim. Similarly, although a victim is able to successfully integrate in one aspect, she may still struggle in another area. Since each victim copes with trauma differently, each victim undergoes rehabilitation differently. Integrating the intake information, case notes, medical records, appointments, and incident reports of survivors on to a single database is crucial to understanding this dynamic. As such, with the case management platform, Yazda is able to tailor its services to the unique needs and circumstances of survivors because all information is centralized and accessible.

June 2015 – ongoing.

WOMEN’S PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT

NEEDS AND GOALS: Yazda opened the Women’s Centre to support the vast number of women who suffered imprisonment, abuse, and physical and psychological trauma who find themselves unable to cope, isolated, and without means for a dignified life. Following the 2014 assault on Yazidi villages in Sinjar, many found shelter in refugee/IDP camps around Dohuk while many others, after falling captive, have gradually escaped and reached Dohuk in desperate conditions.

IN NUMBERS:
240,000: POPULATION IN REFUGEE / IDP CAMPS AROUND DOHUK
116,000: WOMEN POPULATION IN CAMPS ARONUD DOHUK
100,000: YAZIDI WOMEN IN CAMPS ARONUD DOHUK

PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION: The opening of the Women’s Centre in June 2015 attracted vast numbers of women from the IDP camps. As survivors
found freedom and reached Dohuk, they came to know about Yazda’s activities and began to join. Yazda, through its Women’s Centre, offers a
range of activities aimed at the psychological support of victims and vulnerable women and their children, as well as activities to recreate
community bonds and promote support groups.

Pilgrimages to the sacred site of Lalish are included as a journey of reintegration in the community. Here religious and spiritual leaders, offering their welcome to the victims, assist with the process of healing from guilt and shame.Material aid is also provided through the distribution of of blankets, clothes, food, and livelihood (goats, chicken, sewing machines..) to survivors that reach Yazda.

Yazda staff engaged in this project include 1 project manager, 4 case managers, and drivers with minivan and cars.

THE ACTIVITIES IN 2016 REACHED A TOTAL OF 1500 WOMEN:

1. COUNSELLING and one-to-one psychological support is offered to approximately 20 women/month over several sessions according to need. Referral to specialized services when necessary.

2. SUPPORT GROUPS to address psychologically challenging issues: groups of 35 women meet in cycles of 8 weekly sessions.

3. HANDICRAFTS as a therapeutic and social space, and baking classes as part of the socialising and empowering process. Groups of 35 women meet in cycles of 8 weekly sessions for these activities. Children are welcome at Yazda’s Children Program.

4. PILGRIMAGES to Lalish for women and children twice weekly for approx 12 people.

5. SELF RELIANCE PROGRAM: Distribution of livelihood items to 16 families with average size of 12 people each.

Genocide Documentation Project

In September 2015, Yazda submitted a report to the International Criminal Court (ICC) requesting a preliminary investigation into crimes of genocide committed against the Yazidi people…



In September 2015, Yazda submitted a report to the International Criminal Court (ICC) requesting a preliminary investigation into crimes of genocide committed against the Yazidi people.

In preparation for the report we launched the Yazda Genocide Documentation Project, which thoroughly records the details of the August 3, 2014 genocide. Through these records, the project’s research seeks to both compile an accurate historical account of the event, and to inform international policies regarding the response to this egregious genocide and prevention of future mass atrocities.

The project consists of three components:

1. Comprehensive written and video documentation on sites of destruction

2. Extensive interviews with a diverse group of key former victims, including former victims of ethnic cleansing, forced conversion, and enslavement. All interviews are being transcribed and translated into written reports

3. In-depth look at mass graves

Mount Sinjar Mobile Medical Clinic

Our mobile medical clinic provides free health care to remote areas in Sinjar Mountain. The local people in these areas are either displaced, or returnees trying to rebuild their homes…

Our mobile medical clinic provides free health care to remote areas in Sinjar Mountain. The local people in these areas are either displaced, or returnees trying to rebuild their homes and lives, and do not have access to medical care.
 
The mission of the Yazda mobile clinic is to address the need for accessible, cost-effective primary health care by bringing the doctor to the people. Our ability to deliver services directly into mountain villages difficult to access helps us respond to the needs of people who may otherwise have been left undiagnosed and untreated. Further, because we are Yazidi and understand our patient’s hardships firsthand, our clinic can serve those who would otherwise be too fearful or embarrassed to seek medical help elsewhere.
 
The mobile clinic provides full-time, 5 days a week, medical coverage. Since our inception, we have been serving more than 2,100 patients per month in about 35 locations on the north side of Sinjar Mountain. Yazda is grateful for the powerful collaboration of like-minded individuals who have aligned with us to ensure that health care for the people of Mount Sinjar is available. We are especially appreciative to the Central Council of Yazidis in Germany who provided us our mobile clinic vehicle.
 
Nearly $2,700, or a little over half of our monthly operating budget, has been kindly donated to cover year one. We are hopeful that other donors will partner with us to ensure the continuation of our mobile medical services, amounting to $4,200 per month. These primary expenses include clinic facilities, medical equipment and supplies, as well as clinic worker salaries. Moreover, while The Department of Health has generously provided Yazda with several medicines, high-demand medicine that runs out must be paid for through our own budget.
 
The Mobile Medical Clinic on Mount Sinjar offers:

     

  • Alcohol/drug treatment referral
  • Cancer screening
  • Asthma treatment
  • Cholesterol management
  • Diabetes support
  • Hypertension care
  • Counseling
  • Dispensary
  • HIV testing and follow-up
  • Lab services
  • Primary care

Education And Support for Children

Thousands of Yazidi children have been orphaned since the August, 2014 ISIS attack on the Yazidi community. One of Yazda’s primary goals is to provide direct humanitarian…

Often forgotten about during periods of crisis, children are greatly affected by conflict and displacement. They endure the hardship of fleeing from their homes, living in camps or deteriorating urban settings, and often bear witness to gross violence or the death of family members. These children have a right to safe spaces and healing care, but resources can be limited.
 
In Iraq, thousands of Yazidi children have been orphaned since the ISIS attacks of 2014, while others have been held in captivity and forced to participate in violent acts. Many of the children who avoided capture by ISIS still live in camps without access to education and proper care. Their childhoods are being stolen from them.
 
One of Yazda’s primary goals is to provide direct humanitarian and education support for Yazidi youth. Currently, Yazda is only able to assist children who visit our Women’s Center located in Duhok. This limits the number we are able to reach, therefore we are hopeful to acquire funding to expand these services to also help children living in IDP camps and the Sinjar region.
 
Our present education goals include:

  • Documentation and identification of those children who need sponsorship or adoption
  • Mobilization of resources to provide direct humanitarian aid
  • Establishing educational programming to ensure that children continue to receive the education they deserve, as well providing trauma and medical support

* The educational side of this program has not been initiated because of lack of funds.

Aid Work

Helping restore the Yazidi community and rebuilding our homeland is paramount to Yazda. The majority of Yazidis currently residing on Sinjar Mountain are hidden in the foothills…


 
On August 3rd, tens of thousands of Yazidis fled to the top of Sinjar Mountain to escape the atrocities of the so called Islamic State. Many remained on the mountain until a corridor could be opened to the safety of Kurdistan. Although the corridor allowed people to flee, some chose to stay behind and protect their ancestral homeland.
 
Today, thousands of Yazidis still reside on top of the mountain, unable to return to their villages that have been taken by ISIS. These internally displaced persons (IDPs) require humanitarian aid and assistance to meet their basic human needs. Yazda is working to provide care and relief to this community as well as the thousands of Yazidi returnees who have come back to Sinjar after escaping to Kurdistan.
 
Restoring the Yazidi community and rebuilding the homeland is paramount to the mission of Yazda. Presently, we are focusing efforts in the foothills of the mountain to serve the vast amount of Yazidis who now reside there. Yazda’s 2016 report, “Humanitarian Aid and Development Opportunities in Sinjar: Caring for IDPs While Rebuilding and Facilitating Returns” provides details on assistance needed in this region:
 
IDPs Specific Needs:

Winterization
Winterization is necessary to help vulnerable IDPs cope with the harshness of Sinjar’s cold seasonal climate. Therefore, Yazda is now working to establish a robust winterization intervention.In Yazda’s needs assessment, it was found that families often experience direct exposure to weather conditions due to poor insulation in their shelters. Now two years into the crisis, these shelters and tents have become worn and insufficient for families to survive winter weather. Yazda has been able to provide some with tarp and rope, but additional supplies are needed.
 
Water Filters
Yazda recently distributed water filters to 1,000 families in Sinjar to provide access to safe and clean drinking water. The filters were generously donated by one of Yazda’s many partners. Presently, an additional 1,800 filters are scheduled to be delivered.
 
Toilets
As families have returned to Sinjar, many have moved into tent communities or areas still rebuilding from ISIS attacks. Some of these places lack proper sanitation facilities. To assist, Yazda has constructed outhouses in IDP areas lacking access to toilets.
 
Both Returnee and IDPs Needs:

Live Chickens
One form of support that serves the needs of all who live in Sinjar is live chickens. To date, Yazda has distributed 2,500 chickens to over 500 families. Through egg production, chickens provide an ongoing sustainable food source. Yazda is presently expanding activities in this area to serve a greater amount of families.
 
Aid
Yazda provides food aid to communities when funding allows.

 

*Returnees: Those who have opted, despite the continued lack of security and services in Sinjar, to leave the camps in Kurdistan and return to their homeland.

*Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs): Those displaced from many areas still under ISIS/ISIL control, who have opted to take up residence on the mountain rather than the Dohuk Governorate IDPs camps.

 

Completed projects 2014-2016

 

  1. PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPORT FOR SURVIVORS

In partnership with Institute of Global Engagement, Norwegian Church Aid, Help Iraq Org, and other international partners, Yazda provided pyscho-social and trauma couseling services to Yazidi women who managed to escape captivity. The project was halted due to lack of funding in January 2017. However, Yazda continue to provide key services to Yazidi women and girls who managed to escape ISIS captivity, this includes; case management, Bataqa or monthly salaries for survivors, and assistance with resettlement programs in a number of foreign governments, and Legal support to receive life-long pension.

 

2. MEDICAL SERVICES FOR ASSYAN REFUGEES CAMP

In partnership with Norwegian Church Aid, Kurdistan Region’s Health Directorate of Dohuk,  German Action Medeor, and other international and local partners, Yazda provided free medial services to a community of 14,000 IDPs in Shiekhan, Dohuk Province. This project  was Completed in December 2016 and another organization replaced Yazda.

 

3. SINJAR OUTREACH PROJECT 

In partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Yazda provided livelihood support to hundreds of families in Sinjar in 2016-2017. The spent amount budget was ~ 230,000 USD and the program was closed in March 2017.

 

4. AL-BAKRA PRIMARY SCHOOL 

In Partnership with one of our international donors, we have completed construction of a primary school consistent of 6 classroom in Bakra village. The school will serve more than 120 kids who were unable to access basic education. The project was completed in April 2017 and handed over to education authorities.

 

5. DIRECT AID ASSISTANCE

In partnership with several Yazidi groups in Germany, Yazda provided several trucks of cloths, food, education supplies and other emergency items since 2014.

 

6. Golden Pen Educational Program 

In 2015-2016 Yazda managed an education program in the camps and at the university of Dohuk and Zaxo to equip students with key knowledge and motivation to deal with the Genocide and succeed in their lives. The program was completed in summer 2016.  This program also included printing books related to the Genocide.