FYF Monthly Newsletter - June 2020Danger to Yezidis and Religious Minorities Escalates in Syria
Over the last two years, Turkey and Turkish-supported militias have committed countless violations in Afrin and in North East Syria. This has included wholescale demographic change and ethnic cleansing, looting, and destruction of houses of worship, with particular danger faced by religious minorities like Yezidis, Christians, and others. In the last months, several Yezidi women have been kidnapped. Turkey and Turkish-backed extremist forces, including former ISIS members, took control of Afrin in 2018 and parts of North East Syria in 2019. The Free Yezidi Foundation issued a stark warning in early 2019 of the calamitous impact that these invasions would have on the existence of religious minorities in the area.
Voices from the Field
FYF’s trauma team has been working to provide our beneficiaries with remote services during the current COVID-19 crisis. In this segment of “voices from the field,” we hear directly from our trauma team in the field about what it is like working with survivors in the displaced Yezidi community during the pandemic.
"During COVID-19 the suicidality we encounter within the Yezidi population has increased sharply. A main reason is frustration due to challenges by the prolonged stay in the camps, lack of employment, poverty, and hopelessness for the future. As a result there is an increased demand for trauma treatment.
The weeks of working remotely with our beneficiaries and team members proved to be challenging as the electricity and internet connection were not always stable. In addition, most of our beneficiaries did not have internet at all, so we had to work by telephone. Although we were grateful that we were able to support our beneficiaries during the lockdown, especially those suffering from severe trauma, we found telephone sessions challenging because we were not able to see their faces or make direct eye contact.
With the gradual relaxing of the restrictions, we were finally able to return to the Women’s Center and begin seeing our beneficiaries and team members in person. It felt great to be able to meet them face-to-face after so many weeks of working remotely.
Now the whole trauma team is back working at the center and in the field, though in a reduced capacity. As this pandemic appears to be with us for the foreseeable future, we are taking all the necessary precautions to keep ourselves and our beneficiaries safe by following physical distancing and prevention guidelines."
- The FYF Trauma Team
FYF staff providing beneficiaries with language courses at a reduced capacity.
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