Project Dignity: Essential Clothing for Yezidi women, ex slaves of ISIS
Northern Iraq is home to the Yezidi community, one of the most vulnerable religious groups in the world. In 2014 ISIS targeted the Yezidis, killing the men, taking young boys as child soldiers and enslaving women and girls. Since 2016 Khalsa Aid International has been working with Yezidi girls and women who have returned from ISIS captivity, traumatised and with nothing but the clothes their captors had forced them to wear.
Khalsa Aid International has set up Project Dignity, thanks to our supporters. This has an innovative approach: to provide transport, an individual budget, and plenty of time for each Yezidi woman/girl to choose her own set of clothes with support from our local staff. It is one of the last types of freedom one can imagine after months or years of violent oppression.
Each trip also offers an opportunity to socialise with a group of women who have suffered from similar psychological trauma.
“When I was in ISIS’s hands, all I had to wear was black from head to toe. But today I had the opportunity to go shopping again and buy as many colours as I wanted!” – Hannah, 14, who spent three years in captivity, from the tender age of 11.
Khalsa Aid International is collaborating with the local staff at the Office of Kidnapped & Rescue Department in Duhok to ensure that each recently registered returnee is included in Project Dignity.
Khalsa Aid International purchases all supplies including the clothing from the local Kurdish businesses whose livelihoods have also been badly hit by the war.
With more than 2,000 Yezidi girls and women still considered missing, this project will continue into the foreseeable future. It costs $50 to help a Yezidi woman with clothing.
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