APRIL 2022 - NEWS AND UPDATES
Dear friends of FYF,
Every April, Yezidis around the world celebrate the Yezidi New Year. As joyous a time as this is, it has not come without new hardships. However, the FYF team has continued to make progress in programs, advocacy, and awareness-building of our unique social enterprise models.
Please read on for our most current news!
YEZIDI NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS
Serê Salê Pîroz Be!
Yezidis around the world celebrated the Yezidi New Year on Wednesday, April 20th. Yezidi families hosted parties and celebrations amidst ongoing turmoil, struggles, and many years of displacement and ongoing instability, including as a result of Turkish air strikes in Sinjar.
The juxtaposition between celebration and frustration exemplifies the current Yezidi experience: the desire and fortitude to persevere and find joy in the smallest of pleasures while the community continues to suffer from attacks, challenging living environments, and too few opportunities.
As FYF wishes Yezidi brothers and sisters Happy New Year, we continue our work to create a better future for the next generations.
US DELEGATION VISITS FYF ENTERPRISE & TRAINING CENTER
FYF was pleased to host a senior delegation from the U.S. at our Enterprise & Training Center this month. The delegation, including US State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Joey Hood and several US Embassy and Consulate staff members, visited the Yezidi crafts and enterprise initiative as well as the Sugar is Sweet bakery and café. Both initiatives are run by Yezidi women.
It is essential that Yezidi community members build tools and experience in business, enterprise, and workplace practice to increase economic strength in the community. These business and training efforts have two outcomes:
- First, such community-led initiatives aid in rebuilding the spirit and hope of the surviving community, after many years of displacement.
- Second, this provides Yezidis with income and the capacity for future employment as well as the creation of small to medium enterprise initiatives.
The visiting American delegation met with two FYF teams implementing US Government-funded grants to advance and protect the rights and well-being of Yezidis and other minority community members. We were pleased to see members of the delegation purchasing hand-crafted items made by Yezidi artisans, in addition to meeting over drinks and sweets at the Yezidi-run Sugar is Sweet café.
FYF SEEKS FORMAL RESPONSE FROM LITHUANIAN OFFICIALS ON CONDITIONS OF MORE THAN 400 YEZIDI REFUGEES
FYF has issued a statement calling on Lithuanian and EU officials to address the desperate situation facing Yezidi refugees who are seeking asylum in Europe. Yezidi refugees currently detained in the Republic of ithuania are living in subhuman conditions.
While Europe has admirably welcomed Ukrainian refugees fleeing violence and conflict, Yezidi genocide survivors seeking refuge have apparently been languishing in detention facilities for months.
FYF understands immigration regulations, and asylum protocols that Lithuania and European states have in place. Nonetheless, according to international and European refugee regulations, asylum seekers such as the Yezidis in Lithuania have basic rights that must be protected by host governments.
You can find our statement here.
FYF'S COUNTRY DIRECTOR SPEAKS AT THE US EMBASSY - BAGHDAD EVENT
FYF Country Director, Hewan Omar, recently spoke on a panel at the University of Kurdistan, hosted by U.S. Embassy of Bagdad. The panel discussion focused on social entrepreneurship and private sector development. FYF emphasized the importance of women's participation and the value of business initiatives for the Yezidi minority.
With international support, we believe Yezidi businesses and organizations can serve as incubators and hubs, ensuring our young leaders have the skills and experience to grow and to lead. By empowering local community members, including the participation of women, social entrepreneurship initiatives and private sector support can be a forward-looking way to strengthen vulnerable communities.
Beyond focusing on reconstruction, FYF is providing training, education, and skills so that the next generation of Yezidis can build more sustainable economic platforms instead of surviving on bare subsistence farming.
FYF’S CRAFTS AND ENTERPRISE CENTER FEATURED IN IMPACT ENTREPRENEUR MAGAZINE
We were delighted to be invited to submit an article to Impact Entrepreneur Magazine on how FYF is building entrepreneurship and business skills at our Enterprise and Training Center. Yezidi Women Learn, Earn, and Thrive - Creating a thriving community-based enterprise, we discuss how small and medium businesses and training are essential for Yezidi recovery.
We look forward to continuing to explore the impact investment space, and welcome suggestions for potential partners and supporters in our work.
YEZIDI WOMAN FREED ON RANSOM AFTER THREE YEARS OF CAPTIVITY IN TURKISH CAPITAL
While the United Nations and several states acknowledge that the ISIS / Daesh attack against the Yezidis in August 2014 was a genocide, little has been done on a coordinated, global scale to find the 2,800 Yezidis still missing, or to implement scalable solutions to the ongoing struggle of Yezidis to create lives beyond subsistence-level.
However, individual successes and progress continue to be made. A 23-year-old Yezidi woman was recently released from the Turkish capital of Ankara in exchange for ransom. Her captors decided to release her for ransom when she was no longer able to perform her domestic work and had 'lost her desirability as a sex slave'. It is unacceptable that so many ISIS / Daesh members continue to find safe haven in Turkey.
We are so grateful that she has been released and is being provided essential medical care and psychological support in the EU.
DID YOU KNOW?
For those of you who shop on Amazon, we wanted to let you know that by using AmazonSmile, you have access to all the same products and pricing, but with the ability to select a charity which will receive a small percentage of each sale from Amazon, and at no cost to you.
If you’d like to set up an Amazon Smile account, or if you are already using AmazonSmile and would like to select us as your charity of choice on the amazon smile website. We are grateful to Amazon for including the Free Yezidi Foundation as an AmazonSmile charity.
Thank you for your consideration!
Thank you all, as always, for keeping up with our news and work, and for your steadfast support of FYF and the Yezidi community.
Free Yezidi Foundation
IN THE NEWS
Impact Entrepreneur Magazine | Yezidi Women Learn, Earn, and Thrive -- Creating a thriving community-based enterprise | Feature article about FYF's carpet factory within our ETC, discussing how Yezidi women are learning to be entrepreneurs and develop business acumen