FYF Newsletter - April 2020
FYF staff discuss coronavirus prevention with IDP community.
The Free Yezidi Foundation (FYF) wishes you and your family safety and good health during these challenging and unsettling times. FYF would like to reassure you that, although our work has been met with unique challenges, we remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting the Yezidi community with humanitarian and human rights support. The FYF team, both on the ground and abroad, remain grateful to you for your continued support.
FYF’s Response to Covid-19
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) begins to spread throughout Iraq, we are particularly concerned with the disproportional impact it may have on the Yezidi community residing in IDP camps, especially for women and girls. The coronavirus poses the greatest threat to those with less access to resources and information, like internally displaced persons, some of the most vulnerable people in the world. That is why FYF took early action to raise awareness about the coronavirus to camp residents. Our team visited over 400 Yezidi families over a two-day period prior to the outbreak, providing information on how to prevent the spread of the virus, good personal hygiene habits, and World Health Organization recommendations. FYF has identified several critical needs in the camp, including limited access to soap and water and lack of sanitation in some areas. We will continue to work on the front lines of this crisis and monitor the situation as it unfolds.
Despite recent events, FYF’s work saw a number of successes in early March. FYF’s staff working on our gender-based violence (GBV) project in Shekhan conducted a series of in-depth training sessions focused on advocating for women’s rights and gender equality in the Yezidi community. Participants had an opportunity to develop GBV prevention and support strategies and will undergo further training on specialized case intervention.
FYF held graduation ceremonies for participants at our Women’s and Children’s Centers. More than 140 women graduated from a six-month educational course, which includes English and Arabic language, computer skills, sewing, knitting, and seminars on women’s rights. In addition, 165 children graduated from a three-month educational course focused on languages, computer skills, and art. We are extremely proud of all our graduates.
FYF’s team in Khanke was honored to welcome Adama Dieng, UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide, and Karim Khan, UN Special Adviser and Head of UNITAD. During their visit with FYF, the two officials met with Yezidi survivors in Khanke and FYF's humanitarian and justice team members, where they underlined the UN and UNITAD’s commitment to support efforts to hold those most responsible for ISIS crimes to account.
350 women and children registered for FYF’s Women’s and Children’s Centers. When it is again safe for programs to resume, FYF will provide them with educational courses, economic skills training, and a safe space in which they can express themselves and build meaningful social connections. At our Women’s Center, FYF staff will focus on capacity-building and skill development, empowering Yezidi women and promoting women’s agency in the community.
Ms. Hewan Omer, FYF's Country Director, discusses Yezidi needs and priorities with Mr. Dieng and Mr. Khan.
Gucci's Chime for Change 25 for 25 Series: Pari Ibrahim | Pari Ibrahim, FYF’s Executive Director, was featured in Gucci's Chime For Change 25 for 25 Series, an original content series that highlights activists who represent progress made on gender equality.
How Journalists and NGOs Help Track Down ISIS Criminals: Lessons from Iraqi Kurdistan | FYF was features in a Wilson Center article about NGOs and Journalists working to help locate missing Yezidis and identify ISIS perpetrators.
Woman Accused of ISIS Membership Faces Terror Charges in Germany After Journalists Expose Her | Pari Ibrahim, FYF’s Executive Director, was quoted in a Kurdistan 24 article highlighting women affiliated with Islamic State living in Europe without being held accountable for their crimes.
FYF envisions a world in which vulnerable Yezidi community members have the strength, support and opportunity to rebuild a better and more resilient future. Despite the challenges we are all facing, FYF continues to support and uplift vulnerable Yezidis in times of crisis. We will continue to advocate for women’s rights and empowerment in Yezidi communities, and we remain grateful for your support.
Free Yezidi Foundation