Syria: Aiding Kurds and other vulnerable refugees

by Peace Winds America
Syria: Aiding Kurds and other vulnerable refugees
Syria: Aiding Kurds and other vulnerable refugees
Syria: Aiding Kurds and other vulnerable refugees
Syria: Aiding Kurds and other vulnerable refugees
Syria: Aiding Kurds and other vulnerable refugees
Syria: Aiding Kurds and other vulnerable refugees
Syria: Aiding Kurds and other vulnerable refugees
Syria: Aiding Kurds and other vulnerable refugees
Syria: Aiding Kurds and other vulnerable refugees
Syria: Aiding Kurds and other vulnerable refugees
PWA staff members celebrate World Refugee Day
PWA staff members celebrate World Refugee Day

On June 20th, Peace Winds celebrated World Refugee Day, a day to honor the more than 82 million people around the world who have been forced to flee their homes due to threats such as violence and humanitarian crises. This year, our staff in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I) wanted to do something that would have a lasting impact on our Syrian refugee beneficiaries.

Peace Winds staff members kicked things off by volunteering their time to upgrade some of the water and sanitation facilities in the refugee camps where we work in the Duhok region of KR-I. This included maintenance activities for pipes, sinks, and water tanks in several schools, hospitals, and women's centers. The staff members at these facilities were very grateful for the repairs to their water and sanitation systems and sent Peace Winds some thank you videos, which you can check out here

Peace Winds staff also attended various activities organized by Un Ponte Per (UPP) in the Qushtapa refugee camp in Erbil. Refugees and staff participated in activities such as painting, planting, and concerts to build community and celebrate the day. Additionally, at the events in Erbil and Duhok, Peace Winds set up tables where residents could learn more about our tool service centers. In partnership with the Barzani Charity Foundation, Peace Winds’ tool centers allow refugees to borrow tools for personal projects and household repairs, and they can even take courses on tool usage and safety. 

We’re happy to report that the World Refugee Day activities were a success! Our tables were attended by members of UNHCR, the governor’s office, and the Swedish Development Aid Organization (SWEDO), as well as many refugees living in the camps we serve in Erbil and Duhok.

Peace Winds continues to work on upgrades to Syrian refugees families’ shelters and to public infrastructure in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. This includes repairs to substandard structures and renovations that make homes and public areas more accessible to people with disabilities with upgrades such as accessible toilets and showers, handrails, wider doorways, wheelchair ramps, improved signage, and covers over drains and gutters in public walkways. 

Thank you to our donors, followers, and to the U.S. Department of State: Bureau of Population, Refugee, and Migration and the U.S. Consulate General Erbil for funding and supporting our work in Iraq. 

Syrian refugee child wins a prize from WRD games
Syrian refugee child wins a prize from WRD games
Syrian refugee children participate in WRD games
Syrian refugee children participate in WRD games
PWA staff at tool center information booth
PWA staff at tool center information booth
PWA staff at tool center information booth
PWA staff at tool center information booth
Upgraded water taps at school in Duhok
Upgraded water taps at school in Duhok

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PWA beneficiaries use wheelchair ramp
PWA beneficiaries use wheelchair ramp

In 2021, Peace Winds upgraded 800 shelters in Duhok, Iraq and more than 500 in Erbil, Iraq, meaning that more than 1,300 Syrian families no longer have to worry about unsafe living conditions or whether they’ll be protected from the elements. Combined with Peace Winds’ 2018-2020 shelter upgrade projects, our teams have now upgraded the homes of 2,900 Syrian refugee families and counting. 

Because the 2020-2022 project focuses on adults and children with disabilities, older persons, pregnant women, and other refugees facing barriers to mobility, Peace Winds teams also completed 42 public infrastructure upgrades in Erbil in 2021 so that refugees with disabilities can navigate the camps safely.

This year, Peace Winds will continue to work with beneficiaries in Duhok and Erbil to complete upgrades to an additional 984 shelters as well as 26 upgrades to refugee camp infrastructure. Construction in both governorates has already begun so that beneficiaries can soon begin enjoying their new shelters. So far, the teams in Erbil have distributed the required materials to more than 50 shelters in two camps, and likewise in Duhok, 92 shelter owners have received the materials they need to start construction.

This project is made possible by the support of the U.S. Consulate General in Erbil, funding from the U.S. Department of State: Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, and from the generous support of our donors and followers. Peace Winds remains committed to improving the lives of refugee families, helping them regain the sense of safety and dignity that everyone deserves.

Shelter construction in Erbil, Iraq
Shelter construction in Erbil, Iraq
Latrine in Erbil before upgrade
Latrine in Erbil before upgrade
Latrine in Erbil after upgrade
Latrine in Erbil after upgrade

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Peace Winds prides itself on our amazing staff, without whom our humanitarian work would not be possible. #FacesfromtheField is a video series where we interview our frontline staff and hear their experiences in their own words. This episode's guest recently celebrated her first work anniversary as Chief of Party working for Peace Winds in Erbil, Iraq. This year Belma and her colleagues have brought hope to more than 1,300 refugee families by completing upgraded shelters in Erbil and Duhok refugee camps. This project was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) as well as from your support.

Click the link at the bottom of this update to watch Belma's full eposode on YouTube.

Thank you, Belma, for all your hard work on behalf of Syrian refugees in Duhok!

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A Syrian refugee child and beneficiary of our work
A Syrian refugee child and beneficiary of our work

As we upgrade shelters for Syrian refugee families in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Peace Winds is paying special attention to the adults and children with disabilities, older persons, pregnant women, and other individuals facing barriers to mobility. Without proper shelters and camp infrastructure, refugees with disabilities and their families have a harder time getting around the camps, accessing services, and focusing on their personal goals. Peace Winds is working to construct better housing, provide food and schooling, and train refugees in various livelihoods so they can enter the workforce and earn a better income to support their families, helping them focus on what matters most.

Click the link below to watch the video and meet Yachi and Abdulrahman, two beneficiaries of our work in Erbil, and follow us on social media for regular updates and to hear more stories from staff and refugees.

Abdulrahman, a beneficiary of our work
Abdulrahman, a beneficiary of our work

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A family poses with their new home in Erbil
A family poses with their new home in Erbil

In October 2020, Peace Winds received additional funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) for a new two-year project that will provide upgraded housing for Syrian refugees, allowing us to continue our work within refugee camps in Erbil and Duhok in northern Iraq.

Peace Winds’ mission to improve the livelihoods of Syrian refugees began in September 2018 with the first two-year project which provided more durable housing for families who had previously been forced to live in tents. By the end of the project in November 2020, 1,493 families had upgraded homes, bringing them a greater sense of dignity and safety.

From now through 2022, Peace Winds will continue working to improve shelters and infrastructure across six camps in Erbil and Duhok, especially focusing on advancements for adults and children with disabilities, older persons, pregnant women, and other individuals facing barriers to mobility. The project will also offer livelihood opportunities through the cash-for-work program, which provides short-term employment to the refugees in these camps as workers for the project. 

Our teams in Iraq identified 1,289 shelters to be upgraded in 2021, followed by 984 in 2022. The project also includes 63 infrastructure upgrades in camps to increase accessibility for persons with mobility constraints. Construction has now begun so these deserving families can soon begin enjoying their newly improved homes.

Peace Winds prides itself on our amazing staff, without whom our humanitarian work would not be possible. Faces from the Field is a new video series where we interview our frontline staff and hear their experiences in their own words. In the first episode, Project Officer Bareza Baban discusses her work in Erbil, Iraq where she helps with our shelter upgrade project for Syrian refugees. Bareza was born and raised in Erbil, loves putting smiles on the faces of the refugees she works with, and sometimes even sings for her colleagues in her free time. We couldn’t do what we do without team members like Bareza!

Watch the full episode on our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbZPpaSmV5g1fkzNp-qUDHA

Bareza, our first Faces from the Field interviewee
Bareza, our first Faces from the Field interviewee

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Organization Information

Peace Winds America

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @PWAmerica
Project Leader:
Patrick Hurley
SEATTLE, WA United States
$16,535 raised of $26,000 goal
 
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