Can you support the Jiyan Foundation?
I am currently interning with the Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights, an organisation based in Iraq who provide humanitarian and psychological assistance for survivors of conflict. Jîyan is the Kurdish word for “life”.
As part of the internship, I regularly visit Arbat IDP camp which houses a portion of Iraq’s internally displaced people. They have been forced to flee their homes to escape the brutality of the Islamic State. A large number of people housed here have lost family members in the most horrific ways imaginable. Many of their homes are reduced to rubble. The camp houses a sizeable number of Yazidi people, who gained international notoriety for the Islamic State’s sexual enslavement of their women and young girls.
Despite huge efforts by humanitarian organisations, the conditions in the camp are devastating. Families have to in tents with poor insulation. In the freezing and snowy winter months, this poses a huge health risk, especially to children.
The conflict has meant some children have been kept out of school for up to four years. Others may only attend school once or twice a week. The impacts of the conflict have been perhaps the most problematic for children. Some have lost one or both parents. High levels of poverty have resulted in many young boys spending their days trying to sell chewing gum or tissue on the sides of motorways.
Similarly, some families are desperately resorting to marrying their young daughters to much older men as a means to secure their supposed wellbeing. This means children are kept out of school and so going back to school is almost impossible for them. The best way to maintain hope for their futures is to keep them in school.
As part of the internship, I accompany psychotherapists on their art and music therapy workshops for children. I have heard heart-breaking stories of children as young as eight witnessing the deaths of their parents, as well as the kidnappings of their sisters, many of whom have been missing for up to four years.
A vast majority of the music and art produced in these sessions point to a deep and devastating emotional trauma. Almost all of them indicate a desire to continue their ‘normal’ life by drawing pictures of their houses and their old classrooms.
School supplies for children living in Arbat IDP Camp
I have spoken to many families in the camp who say their children lack basic resources. They showed me how their children attend school with pieces of grubby paper that has been stapled at the top.
Therefore, a majority of the money I am raising will go towards packages full of school supplies. These will include at least two notebooks, one pad of plain paper, a small pencil case, pens, pencils, two erasers, a sharpener, a set of coloured pencils, a non-BPA water bottle and one colouring book.
Some children who don’t have backpacks already will also have one provided for them. These packages won’t fix their problems. However, providing them with nice, shiny and colourful things will be a step towards getting them excited for school again. These will provide a sense of normalcy in an otherwise chaotic environment.
Some families that are really desperate for money will get some winter coats and socks for their children. The more money I raise, the more children will get these essential supplies.
I need to add that the only money that will be taken from the total amount is from www.betterplace.org (no way around donation website fees, unfortunately). I will ensure that every remaining bit of money goes towards the children.
We will also be sourcing supplies from wholesalers to ensure the best price is given. Again, the more we buy, the cheaper it becomes. I have until December 10th to raise funds, and I will post the results of the fundraiser when the distribution is done.
The Jiyan Foundation strives for a society where the dignity of the human person is protected, where adults and children enjoy the right to life and liberty, and where citizens are free from torture and terror.