Yazidi children, recently released from captivity by ISIS, share their experiences of the rehabilitation programmes organised by the Springs of Hope Association in Dohuk Province in northern Iraq.
In the Iraqi province of Dohuk, Yazidi children who have been liberated from ISIS’ control are being given courses to rehabilitate and reintegrate them back into society. The classes, which are organised by the Springs of Hope Association, are using modern education methods and equipment in order to heal the psychological damage that was inflicted on these young children.
“The most important thing is that the children here live freely and safely inside this complex,” said Lisa Miara, the founder of the Springs of Hope Association, which operates in the Sharia Camp south of the city of Dohuk. “Through these sessions, we are trying to help them change their lifestyles and help their families.”
Children who have attended these courses say that they enjoy them a lot because they are learning things like drawing, sports and music – activities banned by the militant group during their years of rule.
“ISIS militants used to beat us and train us to use weapons by force,” said one of the Yazidi children participating in the lessons. “Here we feel happy. Here they teach new and good activities, unlike ISIS.”
Since the defeat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, thousands of Yazidi children have returned to their families in areas like Sinjar and Afrin. However, these children’s families have stated that their children suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
As a result, international organisations and NGOs have attempted to carry out initiatives and projects in these areas to rehabilitate Yazidi children, in hopes of helping them overcome their unpleasant past.
While the organisers of these projects say that this task is challenging due to the psychological scarring that they have witnessed, they are confident that they will succeed in this task eventually.
“We will make every effort in order to succeed,” promised Lisa Miara.
While much more work needs to be done for these children to be fully rehabilitated, these projects are making a positive difference to dozens of children, victimised by ISIS.