Our Projects and Working Areas
In order to understand, analyse and find answers to the 73th Genocide against Yazidis, Women for Justice e.V. started the long term documentation project which includes engagement in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Kurdistan, Germany, Greece, Canada, France, and hopefully Australia as well. We do interviews, collect testimonies, do meetings and hold conversations with survivors, observers, neighbours, stakeholders a.o., and collect any kind of evidence. We offer legal support and advice to survivors.
We provide support to survivors in countries where they seek asylum in Europe, mainly in Germany. Many survivors were resettled in or granted access to Germany and Canada for rehabilitation purposes. Many survivors, currently living in these host countries, are in need of reliable information about their rights, especially regarding family reunification. We provide legal support assistance for family reunification, awareness raising on their rights, capacity building, as well as social support for the reintegration into their communities and society in general.
Already (have been) active in: Germany, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Greece, Canada (green)
Planned in: France, Australia (purple)
Furthermore, projects related to the documentation project in: Switzerland, England (orange)
Social support for survivors: Overcoming Trauma and (re-)integration
Yazidi women in captivity were strong in their beliefs and did not give up believing in freedom and their community. Back in their families women need support. Women who escaped from captivity have to deal with both their experience as an individuum and being back in their community. Although, in general, women are welcomed back in their families and communities, it does not mean that everyone understands the sensitive situation of these women well and can act or react properly. In Sinjar (Șengal/Northern Iraq), Rojava/Syria and Germany Women for Justice e.V. supports women to overcome the trauma by supporting them to receive professional medical, psychological a. o. support, bringing together women in different ways to strengthen them as individuals and as a part in society by round tables, seminars and workshops. Women for Justice e.V. supports women and their family members in all kinds of social problems and questions. We always try to find solutions by our own or try to find professional support if necessary. The supervision of women back in their families and community is a long learning process for all parts of society.
In Germany we also support women and their families in different kinds of ways with social problems that occur from a life in a new country, with a new language and a different way of life. We communicate also between women in Germany and their families in Iraq.
Public Awareness and Networking
Information, public awareness and networking are important to understand what we want, to understand which ways we can go, to find partners and to struggle together for women’s rights, for justice and public awareness of gender based violence. We want to struggle for justice for Yazidi women but also for other women in similar situations. Gender based violence is not only an issue of the Yazidi Genocide but is also used as a weapon of war by perpetrators. We need to fight all together for a better life where all parts of the society, women too, can make use of and enjoy their rights.
Women for Justice e.V. organizes the following events by themselves (and/or with partners) on a local, national and international level:
- Interviews for newspapers, radio stations and TV
- Looking for partner organizations
- Looking for individuals supporting our aims
Building a Kindergarten in Sinjar (Șengal)
Children are a very sensitive part of any society. War, seeing killings, often of their own family members, hearing many kinds of munitions, suddenly leaving their safe home created children’s fears and sorrows. Thousands of Yazidi children were surrounded by IS in the deep dry summer of August for 7 days; they also saw how babies, children and elder people died of thirst and hunger. Many could not even be buried. These children had to face the fear of death. Thousands of children were kidnapped by IS with or without family members, were isolated from their families, were trained to become IS fighters, were forced to become Muslim and were misused sexually and were tortured. Many children lost their brothers and sisters during these times or are now (half) orphan. Children are only rarely a matter of discussions and meetings. It seems that the weakest have no attention.
We want to build a Kindergarten in the Serdest area or Sinjar (Șengal) city for at least 50 children between 2 and 5 years. Children should come together with their peers, shall interchange and play together, supported by a pedagogical concept which addresses their competences and skills. This will strengthen their efforts at school. Also families and especially mothers (who are traumatized) will be relieved that way. A Kindergarten will have positive effects on the psychological and physical situation of children and their families. The Kindergartens’ program will consist of group games (strengthening capacity for teamwork, feeling of belonging together, we-thinking), individual care (strengthening personal competences and interests), singing together, art and culture projects, learning languages (Kurdish, Arabic and English), learning skills and knowledge necessary for school.
Women's Center for Sinjar (Șengal/Northern Iraq)
Many Yazidi women have been subjected to gender-related and gender-specific violence during and after the genocide and femicide starting on 03.08.2014. For those women we will found a new women's center, where they will find support by both person-focused and community-focused interventions. In detail it means to offer
- physical health care by medical doctors
- mental health care by specialized psychologists
- emotional and practical support by community workers and links to other services
- safe spaces by building up one main center in Sinjar city and two smaller branches in the Sinjar area
- capacity building trainings on gender equality, human rights of women, women's history, literacy courses, etc.
- legal consultancy services
Our main target is to empower Yazidi women by supporting them on their way out of the victim role to a self-determined life.
(About Life/ „Surviving“)
Yazidi women who escaped from captivity from IS were brave to talk about the brutal violence they experienced. Women for Justice e.V. did 12 interviews between December 2017 and March 2018 with Yazidi women in Qamishli (Rojava), Sinjar (Şengal/Northern Iraq) and in Baden-Württemberg Region (Germany). By telling their stories and allowing us to take them for an exhibition, these women not only demand justice before courts but also want the world to understand what happened. They want to avoid that anyone can deny the atrocities. Also, they want to inform that the Genocide is still ongoing, that family members are still in captivity. These are stories of harm and strength. They hope for rehabilitation, justice, human rights, international support and peace for all Yazidis and other people in the world struggling to survive. Yazidi women ask for support in their struggle to become strong to demand and receive justice.
Next time the exhibition will be shown as part of the Middle East Culture Weeks in Hamburg, from November 11 to 30, 2020 in the Altonaer Museum (Museumsstr. 23, 22765 Hamburg), opening on November 10, 2020 at 6 p.m. with Hanna Lehming (Middle East speaker of the North Church) and Dagmar Humsi (board member Women for Justice e.V.)
This exhibition has been shown in the following places:
- Frauenmuseum (Women’s Museum), Bonn, November-December 2018
- Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall Celle), Celle, January-February 2019
- Initiative "Nachbarschaftshilfe - Flüchtlinge helfen" Rockenhausen, March 2019
- 1st Yazidi Cultural Festival ,Bielefeld, June 2019
- Museum des Kapitalismus (Museum of Capitalism), Yazidi women & women from Asia against war crimes, Berlin, August 2019
- Stadtbücherei,Quickborn Municipality, September-October 2019
- Frauenzentrum Voerde e.V., Voerde, November 2019
- Deutscher Frauenring LV BW, Freiburg, November 2019
- Rathaus Kaiserslautern, Kaiserslautern, November-December 2019
The exhibition has already been translated into English. We are looking for an interested partner to show the exhibition in English-speaking countries.
Holy temples in Sinjar
The holy temples of the Yazidi (Ezidi) play a central role in the practice of the faith. They are places of faith, history and identity. These temples are said to have a spiritual power. With the beginning of the genocide of the Yazidi (Ezidi) on August 3rd, 2014, dozens of holy Yazidi temples were destroyed by the so-called Islamic State. Due to the flight of the Yazidis (Ezidis) from Sinjar, the holy sites were visited less or not at all. But this changes with increasing return. However, the holy sites were without care and maintenance for years.
Women for Justice e.V. wants to record and pass on the knowledge, especially about the destroyed temples. Our goal is also the restoration and reconstruction of temples with special attention to women. We want to start with two projects: Restoration of the women's temple Xantûna Fexra and research on destroyed temples in Sinjar.
Women for Nature
The Shingal region is rich in nature. However, because it was predominantly inhabited by Yazidis (Ezidis), it was always disadvantaged in every respect by the state authorities. Shingal lived from agriculture. The soil has remained fertile due to the lack of industry. However, the resettlement projects within the framework of Saddam Hussein's Arabization policy have led to the destruction of the environment (e.g. large areas of forest have been cleared to have wood for heating) and the loss of the positive relationship between man and nature. People have been alienated from the nature in which they lived by moving to previously undeveloped areas in the steppes where water is scarce. Mother Earth is a sacred element for the Yazidis (Ezidis). In her honour, in April, the month in which the world is said to have been created, no construction is carried out and the earth as a whole is spared. Today, however, only a few healing plants are known to Yazidis (Ezidis), or they have lost touch with them due to the resettlement. On the whole, however, Yazidi (Ezidi) resist chemical products and industrially produced medicines out of religion and conviction. As before, medicinal plants are preferred. However, there are fewer and fewer people who have knowledge about medicinal plants and their effects.
Women for Justice e.V. intends to establish a sustainable medicinal herb project for women, which should also include training and knowledge transfer.
- Preservation of cultural and historical knowledge and the associated identity
- Strengthening the relationship between man and nature
- Strengthening the role of women in culture and society
- Maintaining ecological diversity in Shingal
- Creation of sustainable occupations
- Trauma processing through the relationship between man and nature
The Women's Hospital project is a quite necessary projects of our partners in Sinjar and we will support to take the first steps. In the whole Sinjar area there is not a single women's clinic or gynaecological department where women and especially expectant mothers can be medically treated and cared for. In recent years, and even in the period before the ongoing genocide that began on August 3rd, 2014, women with gynecological problems had to travel to Mosul or other cities to receive professional treatment. Those who live in poor conditions cannot afford the journey or the treatment and are therefore all the more dependent on midwives.
Furthermore, many young women need educational seminars. In the Yazidi (Ezidi) society many women get married at a young age and accordingly they become pregnant at a young age. Many are not enlightened, not least because of a lack of educational opportunities, and therefore do not know what to expect during and after pregnancy. They are also very inexperienced in matters such as contraception etc. With this project we would also like to create the possibility for young women and young people to be educated in seminars and thus prevent an unwanted marriage or pregnancy at a young age.
The planned trauma centre where (young) women and especially women and children who have been in captivity of the so-called "IS" can receive psychological treatment, will maybe be integrated in the same building on day.