A Healing Garden for Dschamdschamãl

Today we skipt the plan to visit the center of Jiyan Foundation in Kirkuk because of safety reasons and went directly to Dschamdschamãl. It seems that last night the Peshmerga again killed or captured IS Fighters in Kirkuk.

The police in Kirkuk speaks about 120 to 125 IS Fighters who attacked different places in Kirkuk last week. Most of them are killed or captured but still 20 to 25 could disappear and their stay in the city is unknown. Therefore it seems to be to dangerous for us to come to Kirkuk. So we proceeded to Dschamdschamãl.


It is a city about 35 km east of Kirkuk. In the city Jiyan Foundation has two institutions serving the refugees living in small camps or in rented houses in and around the city. As in all of their institutions Jiyan Foundation is providing the following programs in Dschamdschamãl:
Program for Survivors of Torture
Program for Victims of Genocide
Program for Refugees and Displaced Persons
Program for Women and Girls
Program for Children and Adolescents
Program for Democracy and Civil Society

On her Website the Foundation writes: „The Jiyan Foundation promotes the physical rehabilitation, mental well-being and social reintegration of survivors and their family members by providing them with medical treatment, psychotherapeutic support and socio-legal counseling. In addition, we seek to protect survivors of past human rights abuses and prevent future acts of violence through professional training, human rights education, public awareness-raising, and political advocacy. …
The variety of these programs depicts our holistic approach which we base on the experience that in post-repressive societies, the rehabilitation of individuals, families and communities is a crucial step in building a peaceful civil society.“


The Healing Garden

A very new project is a therapeutic garden for women and children in Chamchamal. It is the first of its kind and will provide a safe space for women, children, and youth who have experienced domestic violence, abuse and other human rights violations.
„The Garden will provide survivors and their families with a safe and unique space to heal. Garden therapy and group work will offer our clients new ways to overcome their ordeal. A petting zoo will help child survivors approach their fears and worries through animal-assisted treatment.“ (Website of the Foundation). Later on the Foundation will büble a seminar and guest house on the compound of the healing garden where people can meet to learn, discuss, and gain strength. All buildings on the property will be made out of sustainable materials such as clay, bricks and wood combining the traditional Kurdish style with the expertise of modern clay architects.


Without any words …
Near to the Healing Garden the Foundation is running a clinic only for Jezidi women and their children who had been captured and kept as slaves by IS. It’s unbelievable and without any words what kind of tortures, of violence and sexual abuse men are able to do against women and children. Up to 42 women can stay in the clinic for a three month intensive therapy and than they go back to the refugee camps or other places where their families live. I felt very sad looking in the „empty face“ of one of the victims. The scars of her wounds will be forever; but hopefully after the three month in the clinic she will have more self-confidence and sometimes a smile on her face.


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