When the Islamic State (IS) attacked her homeland in Sinjar in 2014, Nadia Murad’s life turned upside down. They had come to ethnically cleanse Iraq of all Yazidis. The systematic campaign that ensued, marked by mass killings and forced sexual slavery, put this ancient community at the centre of international attention. Thousands of men and older women, including Nadia’s mother and her six brothers, were executed – on the same land where they had lived peacefully for centuries.
“Our houses, our families, our traditions, our people, our dreams – they were all destroyed.” – Nadia Murad
Since Nadia’s escape from captivity, she has made it her mission to raise awareness of IS and its genocidal campaign against the Yazidi people. Today, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and the UN’s first ever Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Victims of Human Trafficking, Nadia has become a powerful advocate for women in war and survivors of sexual violence.
Rising from the ashes
Sinjar might have been liberated, but the Yazidis struggle is far from over. In an attempt to ensure that the community could never return, IS also reduced villages and towns to rubble and destroyed farming lands. Nadia’s Initiative is devoted to the sustainable re-development of the Yazidi homeland in Sinjar in northern Iraq. Her goal is to restore these communities to their former glory – and slowly bring dignity, protection and justice to her people.
One of the greatest challenges that Sinjaris face when returning home is the lack of access to water and sanitation facilities. We work in partnership with Nadia’s Initiative and local community actors in the region to deliver our sustainable WASH programme – connecting vulnerable people to these life-sustaining resources as a matter of priority.
Back for good
The programme – implemented by Dorcas thanks to the generous support of the Government of ROC (Taiwan) – sees us extend our services to meet vital livelihoods needs. We repair and improve electricity infrastructure and irrigation systems so that farmers can start over. This also sees community members undergo training and take part in Cash-for-Work activities to help them prepare their farmland for harvest. Sinjar is an area that relies mainly on direct rainfall – we provide farmers with rain-fed agricultural inputs such as seeds and fertilisers and train them on better water resource management strategies. Rain-fed agriculture is also heavily reliant on – you guessed it – rain. In light of global warming and a rise in extreme weather events, our activities teach farmers how to implement climate preparedness strategies. All this serves to ensure that the Yazidi homeland is back for good – and that this ancient community can flourish once again.
Want to learn more about Nadia’s fight for justice? Read our interview with her or visit Nadia’s Initiative website.
27 July 2020