Aid & Development

Iraq: Yazidi widows are left without a source of income following ISIS terror


Since losing their husbands, these Yazidi women have fended for their own livelihood after witnessing the terror of ISIS.

Yazidi women who lost their husbands to ISIS terrorism are coming out of their shell and finding employment opportunities in order to make a living for themselves and their children. The conservative values prevalent in Yazidi communities would dictate that women should stay at home and leave the men to work and earn for their families. The absence of men now allows for the women to take matters into their own hands and break away from the former restrictions they faced in their communities.

Previously, it was shameful for women to work in Sinjar. Now, women work more than men”, commented a Yazidi woman working in northern Iraq.

Leila Shamao is one such woman whose family was captured by ISIS. Her husband is currently missing, but she is still living with her three children. She now works as a tailor and provides for herself and her children.

“Thanks to my will and to the sewing machine, I take care of my son, my daughter, my sister and her husband”, remarked Leila.

Yazidi women suffered unprecedented abuse at the hands of ISIS terrorists, who stormed into areas populated heavily with Yazidis in north-western Iraq, leading up to the infamous Sinjar massacres. They were captured and used as slaves, often sold into sexual slavery between ISIS terrorists.

Despite these traumatic experiences, Yazidi women have raised their voices and have spoken out about the atrocities committed against them. One famous figure who have spread awareness internationally about the plight of Yazidi women is Nadia Murad, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year for her efforts.

The provision of jobs for Yazidi women has indeed helped them to overcome the trauma of witnessing and experiencing the crimes committed by ISIS. Certain organisations have provided such assistance at a much needed time. For instance, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), in cooperation with a number of other international organisations, opened a carpet factory last year for Yazidi women in Duhok, helping them to both provide for their children and also develop their skills.