August 3 2021 is the seventh anniversary of the Ezidi genocide perpetrated by the so called Islamic State, where 1293 civilians were killed in the first two days, more than 300,000 Ezidis have been displaced, 6000 people, mostly women and children were kidnapped, in addition to the demolition of homes and Ezidi religious shrines. The devastation and cruelty of that day, and the aftermath on the Ezidi community is immense and ongoing. The official designation and recognition of the international community of the genocide have done little to improve the lives of Eizidi people. Seven years on and each anniversary is a repetition of the year before, with the same empty statements. Nothing has been done to rebuild Sinjar, and hundreds of thousands of Ezidi’s continue to suffer and live in refugee camps, and the community has been torn apart and displaced. Virtually nothing has been done to bring the perpetrators of this genocide to justice. Thousands of Ezidi women are still missing, presumed to still be held as slaves.
These are the thoughts of Sarah Hasan advocate for her community and wadi team member:
“It has been 7 years, how long can this situation go on?? Everyday there are reports of and promises from governments, but in the reality we the Ezidi people have become completely homeless and abandoned.
Every year this day is so difficult and we really feel that the diaspora and homelessness of the Ezidi community is so painful. We are thankful to the support we have received through the international community and the NGOs that have done a lot to help, here in the camps, and those countries that have taken in Eizidi people all over the world. But to have our community so fragmented is really heartbreaking.
Who is responsible for this, Daesh (IS)a terrorist organisation, but who let it happen?? We feel completely abandoned by Baghdad and Erbil, forgotten by all of Iraq. There are have been peace agreements about the security situation but Eizidi people were not even consulted or present, and even that agreement has not been implemented or enforced. We don’t feel safe in Iraq. The Daesh terrorists and their families have all gone back to Mosul, but nothing has been done so that Yazidi’s can leave the camps and go back to Sinjar, it makes me so upset and angry.”
Wadi has been providing emergency support and psychological aid for over hundreds of women and girls who have escaped from being held as slaves by the so-called ‘Islamic State’. To date Wadi has assisted 20,529 women and young girls. Hundreds cases of sexual slavery by ‘IS’ have been documented and reported to international media, in an effort to have these crimes recognized internationally. After talking with Yazidi community members and providing emergency response, Wadi opened the Jinda Centre in July 2015 as a long-term response to the overwhelming needs of women and girls who escaped or were rescued from Daesh (ISIS) captivity. Wadi’s Mobile Teams are led by two Yazidi women (social workers) and provide the point of first contact, as well as determining which cases are in need of immediate medical, or psychological assistance, which they then coordinate. When they arrive in the Dohuk area, these women and girls are in urgent need of care.
Our teams are experts, and operate with professionalism, kindness and discretion, and are well liked in the refugee camps and the area in general. The centre follows up on the work of the Mobile Teams by offering an inviting and pleasant (all woman) space where groups are offered in depth counseling treatment, vocational courses such as crafting, knitting and sewing, agricultural skills, social activities, and most of all a safe space where they can share their experiences without judgement.
In Kurdish ‘Jinda’ means new hope, and that is what the center stands for, a place to regain strength, and hope, and start new chapters in their lives. A place where women can find some of the agency that has been taken from them. With the knowledge they gain from different vocational courses, the goal is that they can provide for themselves and their families financially, and feel proud of their accomplishments. The Jinda Centre is now an independent NGO, as part of WADIs long standing strategy ‘project to partner’ which provides support to local actors who then remain an integral part of our network.
Currently the Mobile Teams in Duhok continue to provide support to the Yazidi community by providing assistance on a need basis and by providing Coronavirus awareness in the refugee camps of the Dohuk area as part of our ‘Citizens to Citizens Corona Campaign’.
The staff have been trained to work with traumatized victims of violence, specifically sexual violence by UNICEF, Salt Foundation, Heartland Alliance, UNESCO, and the Jiyan foundation.