Yazda UK/Ireland

Yazda UK /Ireland is a registered charity in UK (No 1175169) and an essential part of Yazda Global Organisation, it has a diverse team consists of tens of members and volunteers from ENGLANDSCOTLANDWALES as well as the Republic of Ireland.

Yazda UK operates for the benefit of the Yazidi religious and cultural community as well as other ethnic-religious minorities, in particular, but not limited to those members of such communities that have suffered from the recent attacks of ISIS, such members located particularly but not exclusively in Iraq, Syria, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Yazda Main goals:

(1) Defend the rights of Yazidis and other ethnic-religious minorities.

(2) Support the victims of Yazidi genocide

(3)  Advancement of health and the saving of lives among the Yazidi Community, including: (i) by providing medical items and services to such individuals in need; and (ii) locating a territory or territories in which the Yazidi Community can safely settle;

(4) Prevention or relief of poverty among the Yazidi Community, including by providing grants, items and services to such individuals in need;

(5) Advancement of community development, including by recording and making available to the public records of the cultural and religious customs and beliefs of the Yazidi Community; and

(6) Advancement of religious harmony and equality and diversity by promoting mutual understanding between the Yazidi Community and other communities, particularly in the United Kingdom.

Donate to Yazda UK


 Yazda UK Director and Board Member

Maher G. Nawaf is Yazda’s board member and one of Yazda UK directors. Currently undertaking Post-doctoral research at the University of Birmingham after finishing his PhD in immunology at the same university, Maher received his MSc in Medical Microbiology in 2005 and has lectured in several Iraqi Universities.

Maher is a member of the British Society for Immunology and a supporter of cancer research. After the August 2014 attacks, Maher has prioritized aiding Iraq’s vulnerable Yazidi, ethno-religiousnation, and Christian minorities.


Yazda UK Director and Board Member

Torlach Denihan is the director of Telecommunications and Internet Federation (TIF) and he is acting as one of Yazda UK directors.


Deputy Executive Director and Board Member

Ahmed Khudida Burjus is the Deputy Executive Director of Yazda Global Organization and one of Yazda directors in the United Kingdom. Ahmed has worked as the director of Nadia Murad`s Initiative for over a year and he is now a member of a team that manage and support Ms Murad in her Global Advocacy work. Ahmed completed his Master of Health Science in Immunology and allergy at the University of Nottingham, UK. He also holds a BSc degree in Biological Sciences. Ahmed has previously served as the executive director for the Al-Smoqi Charity Organization, a local Yazidi organisation which supported the community for over four years in Iraq.


Yazda UK Secretary and Fundraising Officer

Fiona Bennett studied Mental Health Nursing and Brain Injury Rehabilitation in Edinburgh where she worked as a psychiatric nurse before learning about the struggles faced by the Yazidi community. Fiona, a mother of two, uses her free time to fundraise for Yazda.

Rozin Khalil

 Women’s Affairs

Rozin Hanjool is a campaign specialist and the UK  manager for Women’s Affairs. A high school student from Coventry, Rozin has advocated for thousands of Yazidi women and girls who were taken captive in the August 2014 attack, launching a campaign on change.org which received wide support from the media and the British public.

Sara-Yazda UK

Research, Advocacy & Documentation Analyst

Saghar (Sara) Birjandian focuses on documentation, advocacy, and research at Yazda. Sara is a scholar-practitioner with years of experience working on various transitional justice and atrocity prevention projects. She served as the Deputy Director of George Mason University’s Genocide Prevention Program and as a Statement Gatherer for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

She is currently a Doctoral Candidate with the Department of Politics and International Studies at SOAS, University of London. Her research focuses on developing a soft systems approach to map and analyse local interpretations of transitional justice in Uganda. Sara holds a Master of Science in Global Affairs with a concentration in International Law and Human Rights from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy with a concentration in Ethics and Legal Philosophy from the University of Victoria.


Advocacy and fundraising officer 

Holly is a final year student at the University of St Andrews, studying International Relations and Modern History. Her dissertation is centered around the Yazidi genocide and its collective trauma, and has spent most of her time at University researching gender issues and conflict in the Middle East. She spent two months volunteering with displaced Yazidis in Northern Greece, and wants to raise awareness of the community and their ongoing genocide at a local and national level.


Fundraising Officer and Children Affairs

Anna Duncan is a fundraiser for Yazda in Scotland. Anna works as a podiatrist in NHS Scotland and recently completed an MSc in the Theory of Podiatric Surgery. Previous to training as a podiatrist, Anna worked at the European Commission and in the private sector.


Public Affairs and Communications Consultant

John Gallagher is a public affairs and communications consultant based in Ireland with previous experience in Irish and EU politics and journalism. He works as an advisor to Yazda Board on a pro-bono basis.


General Advisor and Women Affairs 

Sam Easton graduated with a Ph.D in Structural and Molecular Biology from University College London in 2009. After completing a 3 year Post-Doctoral position in Cape Town, South Africa, working on microbial bioethanol production, she opened and operated a successful business for a further 3 years before returning home to Edinburgh to study Law at Edinburgh University. The first encounter with Yazda was at a charity event in Edinburgh held to raise funds to assist Yazda projects, where Sam immediately volunteered to assist our worthy cause in any way possible.

Brian/Yazda member

Advocacy Officer 

Brian Devlin is working as a volunteer advocacy Officer for Yazda to raise awareness about the crimes committed by ISIS against civilians, especially the Yazidi women and children victims of ISIS enslavement. Brian is the founder and director of the  Children’s War Museum and he is developing the museum’s activities with schools, churches, cultural institutions, survivors associations and galleries. Brian Awarded M.A. in Screenwriting from Scottish Screen Academy in 2010 and  HND in Legal Studies from Napier University in 1989



Yazda-UK Legal Advisor 

Ali Saleem Shemo has master’s degree of laws in commercial law from the University of Derby in the UK. Ali, has worked previously for two years in the University of Duhok as a research assistant in the Kurdistan region of Iraq as well as worked in Baadre cultural center in Baadre for one year. Furthermore, worked in Sheffield as a volunteer in Northern refugee center/ South Yorkshire refugee law and justice. Currently, works for Capita in Sheffield.