Shelter Now supports therapy for young women from the Yezidi people

“Zhian”, in English “life”, is the name of the new trauma therapy center in northern Iraq, which is sponsored by the international Christian relief organization Shelter Now and has now started regular operations. The facility in the small town of Baadre in the autonomous province of Kurdistan offers help to young women who had been enslaved by the terrorist militia IS. “The Yezidi women have been freed in the meantime, but they are severely traumatized by their terrible experiences in captivity,” reports Udo Stolte, the German director of Shelter Now.

The opening of “Zhian” had been delayed due to the pandemic – now the work has started. Two days a week, for four hours each, young women come to the house, engage in fellowship, and also receive individual counseling. The point is to give them new self-esteem and perspectives. They had suffered years of rape, beatings, humiliation.

In addition to participating in individual counseling, the women attend personal development courses in small groups. They also learn the English language or get creative together, making crafts, for example. Sports and music groups are to be added, as well as vocational courses – in sewing or hairdressing, for example – so that the participants can make their own money later on. One year of therapy at the trauma center costs 180 euros for a woman – Shelter Now is asking for donations for this.

About 25 to 30 young Yazidi women currently come regularly to the “Zhian” center. They are between 18 and 27 years old. They are cared for by the director and four Yazidi employees as well as six volunteers. The work is run by a small Christian community in Erbil, the capital of the Autonomous Province of Kurdistan. The center’s director sees initial successes: “Women who were initially very shy, even fearful, are gaining more and more self-confidence and overcoming their fear.”

In 2014, IS had kidnapped and enslaved over 6,000 Yazidi women and children from the Sinjar region. After the defeat of the terrorist militia, many returned to their families, but several remain missing.

Brunswick, March 08, 2021

Shelter Now is an international relief organization with a coordination office in Germany. It was active in Pakistan from 1983 to 2016. Work began in 1988 in Afghanistan and in 2014 in the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan (Northern Iraq). The name of the organization in Germany is “Shelter Now Germany e.V.”. Shelter Now finances its relief efforts to a large extent from private donations. Shelter Now’s efficient and project-related use of funds is certified by the German Central Institute for Social Issues (DZI) with the donation seal.

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