Maggie Goes To Yzedi
Yezidi children with war trauma
Shariya Refugee Camp, Duhok, North Iraq
125 000 euro
In post-ISIS Iraq about two million people are internally displaced. The Shariya camp in Duhok alone harbours thousands of Yezidis who have fled the forces of ISIS. In total, this camp accommodates 20000 people, at least 9000 of whom are children.
There is for instance 8-year old Rizgar, who came back from captivity speaking English fluently. He was kidnapped by ISIS and taken by an American ISIS family. When
he returned, he appeared to have unlearned his mother tongue, because of the trauma he experienced.
Soleen too was affected by captivity. She is 10 years old and was among the top students in her class. Whilst being held captive for 2,5, she was mistreated by her adoptive parents, who she came to believe were her real parents. Some of her family is still missing.
These children might be physically free but mentally they are still in captivity. Rizgar, Soleen and hundreds of kids just like them are waiting for proper psychological and educational attention. To give them any chance to be freed from the indoctrinated ideology, they need trauma care.
Panaga NGO, Maggie Program and DMOA architects want to combine forces and create opportunities for these children in need.
What is Panaga NGO?
Panaga is an independent, locally run, non-profit, and non-governmental organisation, led by Zirak Hameed, that makes an effort to develop and provide educational services in Kurdistan in general, and particularly in the Duhok governorate. (panago.org)
They commit themselves to organise the support of the children in the camp through therapeutic programs of art, drama, play therapy and pop-up schools. Unfortunately, there are no proper educational spaces and the infrastructure that is available is unsafe.
The Project ‘Maggie goes to Yezidi’
Given proper accommodation children in the Shariya camp can develop intellectually and emotionally through the works of Panaga. The design of the project therefore started from a very concrete brief and needs assessment Panaga offered, involving traditional classrooms, as well as spaces for art therapy purposes and some multipurpose practical spaces.
The result is a setup with 4 Maggie shelters (around 40 and 50 square meters) and 2 containers (12 square meters), with a total inner surface area of 203 square meters.
These spaces will provide adequate classes for the children in the Shariya camp to heal, to play, to live in a real community. These semi-permanent structures are the Yezidis’ only chance at the moment, because it is very difficult for minorities to buy land in the surrounding area and their homelands are destroyed and still unsafe.
each project an innovation
In each project, the Maggie Program combines the use of the Maggie shelter with a carefully considered innovation, to tackle specific challenges in the particular project environment. These solutions become part of the innovative possibilities of the Maggie shelter and can be further used in the whole humanitarian aid context.
A known danger in the Kurdistan region and the Shariya camp is the traditional use of kerosene stoves for cooking as well as for heating. The large amount of safety concerns is clear. These accommodations are fire hazards. People living here are at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning and around 60 to 70 percent of them already suffers from lung problems.
By using a low tech, plug & play, floor heating system (with water) in the Maggie classes, the stove is removed from the crowded areas. Instead it is pre-installed in one of the 20 ft containers, which are also used to transport the Maggies. This is a much safer solution.
Thanks to this unique collaboration, it will be possible to give access to education and trauma healing to at least 100 children each year.
The Maggie Program gives displaced people the opportunity to learn and practice in a safe location. So they can stand on their own feet. So they become the community leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.