We have recently opened a shelter for Yazidi women and girls who have escaped slavery by ISIS. OWFI activists rented a house, furnished it, and conducted many planning and training sessions with our new activists there.
I met with five ISIS survivors, mostly under 20 years old, and spoke words of support and apologized for the cruelty they witnessed by someone who spoke the same language as I.The young women are deeply traumatized. Many are not willing to speak, especially in Arabic, and it was impossible for some to even look me in the eye. They will need significant time and support to begin to recover and rebuild their lives.
Most of these young women have never attended school; we are providing literacy class in Kurdish for them.
In addition to medical care and psycho-social support, we are providing classes in basic literacy and sewing. The sewing activity in particular got the girls immersed; they are learning to sew their own clothes with the machine we brought. We also took them to the market where we bought a set of good winter coats and clothes for each; they all wore light clothes in the freezing winter.
The house is located in Dohuk in the Yazidi area of Iraq. One room will be used for meetings, computers and handcrafts. The rest of the house will be for their living. With four big bedrooms, and a good modern kitchen, the house can serve many women.