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Yazidi Women and Girls Receive Lifesaving Care

With your help, MADRE and our grassroots partner, the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), are helping Yazidi women and girls escaping ISIS control and sexual slavery.

Thanks to your support, last year we opened a rape crisis center in Kurdistan to bring vital care and healing to these women and girls. 

And great news! We’ve expanded our work in the area, opening an OWFI tent near the Khankai camp where hundreds of Yazidi families live. Now that we have a center located closer to this camp, we can reach even more Yazidi women and girls with lifesaving care and services.

With your support, OWFI offers healing counseling and vital care. Thanks to their culturally sensitive programming and engagement with Yazidi community leaders, Yazidi women and girl survivors of sexual violence trust OWFI and turn to them for help. 

Women and girls receive basic medical care and attend skills-building workshops with OWFI. Many of the Yazidi women and girls who have made their way to OWFI have never attended school. For the first time ever, they are now receiving basic literacy lessons. Your support puts a powerful tool in their hands – the ability to read, and eventually, to put their own stories into words. 

A recent literacy class that your support makes possible (c) OWFI

Your support also brings vital job training, including sewing and embroidery classes so that the women can find work in their new community and use these skills to earn income and stand on their own two feet. 

In the video below, Yanar Mohammed, director of OWFI, is at the new center. Listen to her explain the work that MADRE and OWFI are doing with Yazidi women and girls.

MADRE and OWFI also provide counseling support, including collective trauma healing. We are working with local, grassroots Yazidi organizations and a certified counselor, a Yazidi woman herself, to develop culturally appropriate, community-based support. 

As a community member, the counselor we work with is able to empathize and establish trust with the women and girls who visit the OWFI center in a way that outsiders are unable to do. Through group sessions, she encourages women and girls to talk openly about the trauma they’ve endured. Already, OWFI has noted a visible difference in self-esteem and confidence levels of the women and girls who have participated in the counseling sessions. As one woman told OWFI, “These sessions make me feel very good. Sharing and hearing from others makes me feel better about myself. It is easier to talk.”

Thank you for helping us to create this safe space. Your continued support will ensure that OWFI can carry on with their life-sustaining trauma counseling and skills-building work with Yazidi women. It’s hard for many of the young women and girls there to imagine now, but these programs that you make possible are helping them to slowly rebuild their lives.

In the video below, the Yazidi women and girls you support say “thank you.”

When you support MADRE, you help women find hope and build just communities around the world.

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