The thousands of Christian, Yazidi and other minority groups who fled to Erbil, Kurdistan, to escape the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) are now facing a very different foe in the form of the oncoming winter for which they are ill prepared. While Kurdistan has willingly made itself a place of refuge, its camps are overcrowded and it does not have the local infrastructure to cope with the size of the crisis. Humanitarian assistance is urgently needed to meet the staggering influx of refugees and to provide them with suitable shelter and necessities to survive.
Shai Fund partnered with local communities who told us stories of how their communities were threatened and many killed; how their houses were marked with the Arabic “N” for Nazarene (marking them as Christians). Their lives threatened they fled their homeland; "our homes have been taken by IS and all it’s contents. We have lost everything."
Many ended up in Kurdistan where they formed a charity to help their people. They now have a network of young people from all the local churches in Duhuk and Erbil. They are going through the city looking and helping the displaced. They find them in broken down buildings and car parks. They find them living in the streets and in makeshift housing and in refugee camps. They find them with only what they could carry.
Shai Fund partnered with these local communities on the ground in Northern Iraq to feed the displaced Christians and other minorities. Items included food staples such as rice, noodles, tea, beans, lentils, powdered milk and more. On one day alone over 500 families were given relief packs consisting of food and non-food items. The team also went into the camps and gave food to 2000 refugees (fresh foods and much needed blankets for the coming winter).