FYF Monthly Newsletter - December 2020
Yezidi child celebrating the holiday, December 2020 (photo obtained with informed consent of child and legal guardian)
We at the Free Yezidi Foundation wish you a happy and healthy holiday season. Yezidis also celebrate an important holiday in December: Ida Ezid. According to tradition Yezidis fast for three days and then celebrate the holiday. Despite the suffering of the community, families do their best to mark this holiday occasion, even from tents in the IDP camps or from the huts or unfinished buildings where they live. At the same time, we wish those celebrating other religious holidays in December a pleasant holiday season.
December 9th marked the International Day of Commemoration & Dignity of the Victims of Genocide. FYF issued the following statement: "On the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of Genocide, FYF points to the promises made a long time ago that appear to have been forgotten. We need to ensure and reiterate that never again means never again. Justice for survivors of a genocide brings back some hope that they had lost in humanity. Around the world, there must be action, so survivors can believe in a system that will protect the most vulnerable. The lives of the next generation depend on decisions and actions that take place now. Impunity today will have deleterious consequences tomorrow."
Yezidi genocide survivors in August 2014 (photos Sebastian Meyer)
As the year comes to a close, FYF is wrapping up its 2020 trauma portfolio and preparing for service provision in 2021. Similarly, new elements of justice efforts, including continued and expanded collaboration with UNITAD, will be forthcoming in the new year. Operations will be continuing at the FYF Women's and Children's Centers, at our base of operations in Sheikhan, and through our mobile team in Shariya. FYF remains concerned by the spread of the COVID-19 virus not only in the camp but also in areas of Shingal which are still lacking adequate health and service provision for civilians. FYF and many other Yezidi and international actors are putting forth best efforts to warn all members of the community about the danger of COVID-19 and share prevention measures that can be taken.
FYF courtesy visit with Ido Baba Sheikh, who died recently due to COVID-19 complications. He and his late brother, the former Baba Sheikh and Yezidi religious leader, were pillars of strength and wisdom in the Yezidi community. FYF urges all Yezidis, especially in the camps, to wear masks for protection against the COVID-19 pandemic.
FYF is beginning to recruit trainees / beneficiaries for its Bakery Training Center, to begin classes and operations in 2021. The purpose of the Center is to provide the trainees with business and basic math courses, bakery training, and on-site practice working in and establishing a functioning business. The skills to be taught are transferrable to other locations and other businesses. If and when beneficiaries return to Sinjar, they will have gained some skills and tools to improve their economic opportunities in the future.
FYF Women's Center Graduation on 7 December 2020
On 7 December, FYF Women's Center beneficiaries graduated. This was the reaction from one graduate, Almas*: "My life has changed a lot after attending classes at FYF's Women's Center. I did not know how to sew and knit before, but since attending classes [here] I have been able to produce many different garments. Attending those classes helped me a lot: psychologically, mentally, and financially. In addition, I opened my own business. It is small, but it makes me feel happy and strong."
Finally, we ask our friends to bear in mind the forthcoming winter and the difficult conditions facing Yezidis living in and out of IDP camps, those who returned to Sinjar, and those living on Mount Sinjar. The bitter cold, danger of tent gas-fires, lack of basic goods and services, and COVID pandemic will make the next months extremely challenging. This is all the more reason to ensure that Yezidis have access to training, education, job opportunities, and a better chance to grow and participate in the modern economy. FYF will be addressing some of these systemic problems in the coming year. In the meantime, we wish strength, resilience, and health to our people through the harsh winter.
IDP camp residents struggle through harsh winters (photo courtesy @Ezidi2)
Finally we have nearly reached our goal for our end of the year fundraising! If you want to make a donation via GlobalGiving, please click here.
Thank you, friends, for your continued solidarity with the Free Yezidi Foundation and the Yezidi people. We wish you a Happy New Year and a prosperous and safe 2021.
Free Yezidi Foundation
In the News
RED | De Free Yezidi Foundation probeert hoop te bieden | This article (in Dutch) outlines the Free Yezidi Foundation activities and its impact on its beneficiaries.Kurdistan-24 | Prominent Yezidi Activist Ido Baba Sheikh Dies from COVID-19 | This article quotes Yezidi leaders and organizations, including the Free Yezidi Foundation, in lamenting the passing of Ido Baba Sheikh.