Each day we start off knowing that the day will hold new experiences, meet new friends and are amazed by the beautiful resilient Ezidi people.
Barbara Bluett is an absolute magnet for Yazidi’s of all ages…….she lives in Toowoomba, Australia’s largest Yazidi community. Barbara has been leading and assisting in English classes. Barbara and Wafaa Tanious, went to a little village for a women’s health workshop yesterday and is making connections between her Toowoomba friends and their relatives in the camps here. She has met numerous Yazidi’s here who are heading to Toowoomba so has been able to welcome them to Australia and promise to meet them once they arrive in Toowoomba. She managed to find and meet up with an elderly Yazidi lady who is heading out to Toowoomba…the beginning of a long term friendship. No task is too big for petite Barbara and she is an absolute ball of energy and enthusiasm.
Our own qualified educator, Wafaa Tanius, started the women’s health groups today and over 45 women and girls attended the two sessions. For some, it was the first time they had ever heard anyone speak about their bodies and women’s health issues.
Thank you to the Hervey Bay ‘Days for Girls’ chapter for providing Wafaa with 106 kits to hand out after these workshops.
We have a further 2,199 kits from Queensland and New South Wales coming here to Kurdistan in the shipping container.
Thank you to ‘Joint Help for Kurdistan’ nurse Amina H Juno for her translating skills and support for these women’s groups.
How do explain what it is like to lose 18 members of your family to execution or enslavement by ISIS? How does a woman raised to be modest, go about uncovering the sexual abuse and rape she has endured – especially to a global audience? Nadia Murad has done just that and for her courage and determination to be a voice for the Yazidi people, she has been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.
What if these tortured and traumatised women and girls were your wife, mother, daughter or granddaughters? What if these men who were killed were you father, husband, son, uncle or brother? We have heard horrific stories this week from the Yazidi’s at Bajed Kandala…..one extended family of 32 were slaughtered and only 3 young people remain alive today. Others have not heard or seen their family members since the genocide in August 2014.
Support and befriend the local Yazidi communities in Toowoomba, Armidale, Orange, Dubbo, Coffs Harbour and Wagga.
Thank you for your donations which meant I could go out and buy 20 new plastic chairs for the school and 3 tables for the sewing group. I drove to Zakho (close to the Turkish border) to make the purchases and enjoyed walking the streets with market stalls.
It was wonderful to meet our dear friend Dr Dunia Musa AlMuderis again. Dr Dunia has played a special role in supporting individual IDPs with their medical and basic needs but also on a much wider scale by delivering heaters, fans, blankets and diapers numerous times into the camps for the refugees and internally displaced people.
You may remember last year Operation Hope helped in a small way with the case of the badly burnt girl, Reem……Dr Dunia was instrumental in organising for Reem’s transfer to Italy for specialist treatment.
Father Araam then drove us to a Safe House….. a refuge for Yazidi women released from ISIS captivity. The facility is purpose built and very thoughtfully laid out. There are indoor play areas for the children as well as outdoor quiet reflective places.
Once again discussions were centred on ways that Operation Hope can possibly support this project.
Busy morning at Baged Kandala camp. Many queues to see the doctor, nurses, pharmacist or have tests at the pathology lab. There is a visiting team from America called Habibi Foundation… all are medico’s with a physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist, so there have queues longer than normal.
Classes are in……well almost. Leanne has been doing assessments and after marking we will be starting classes – beginners and advanced ASAP. Some of these students have been on a waiting list for two years. One of our English class students is a teacher at the Bajed Kandala Kurdish school there is also an Arabic school in the camp. Several others are IT graduates from Mosul university and Duhok university. We are using the women’s sewing room in the mornings for classes.
Thank you for your donations, some of which were used to buy student exercise book and pencils.