Being at the center and being respected, me and the other women, it made me very happy. I like it at the center so much, that sometimes I catch myself coming to the center early, before all the classes start. My mental health has drastically improved since participating.

– Sairi, 60 years

“I was educated about my rights for the first time ever at the FYF women’s rights class. I learned a lot about education, work, and the ability to learn. But it went beyond the basics. We learned about early child marriage, the importance of completing our education, and that as a woman we can have a future and a voice; not just washing dishes, etc. After the course, I helped one of my friends. She is 16 years old and nearly left school to get married. My friend didn’t know about women’s rights. I took a couple of days to sit down with her and talk about everything I learned at FYF and why education is so important. My friend changed her mind and returned to school after she learned this information. She has now become the top student in her class.”

– Nadia, 17 years

I continuously asked my family why I was not sent to school like all the other girls. My family tried to register me in school, but the school didn’t accept me because I have a disability with my legs. At one point I heard about the Free Yezidi Foundation registering women to participate in their projects. They told me they even have bus drivers to pick up women who live far away or unable to reach the center by themselves. I was not sure if they would accept me because I am not like others because of my disability. It was the first time I was ever accepted to enroll in classes. I was so happy. I was amazed that people like me could get a chance to get an education. I love learning, especially English and Arabic. I learned so much about women’s rights, and I felt more empowered than ever before. I never expected to be enrolled and equally accepted like everyone else. I will keep trying hard to learn and achieve something, so I can become more independent. I don’t like to be the disabled women that is a burden on her family or other people.

– Kafia, 15 years

“I was unable to read or write and this became a major problem for me while living in the camp. The smallest and simplest things were difficult to do. In the camp sometimes they distribute benefits to the people. In order to receive the benefits, I had to list my tent number and section. I was unable to read it from the tent and write it down. I always had to run around and ask people to help me read and write my tent number and area. I started to participate at the Free Yezidi Foundation women’s center. This was the first time I felt that education is not only for young people, it is for all ages. I am an older woman. I am not here to earn a certificate for the purpose of getting a job. I am here to earn a certificate to be able to do the basic things in daily life while living in the camp. It has made me feel very good.”

Sabri, 46 year

“I was born in Sinjar. I fled my hometown to escape the Islamic State fighters in 2014 along with my parents and eight siblings. After a week-long journey my family and I arrived in Khanke village, we had nothing. My family and I were assigned to make a makeshift tent outside the official camp, which was already at capacity. Without basic aid or assistance, my family and I struggled from economic challenges, isolation, and discrimination as an ethno-religious minority. As a result, I did not receive education, health, or social services. I was not able to reestablish myself and build a new life. After two years spent in destitute conditions, lost in thoughts about the suffering of my friends and family, I was offered a slot at the Free Yezidi Foundation’s Women’s Center. Eager to start something new, I enrolled. I gained valuable skills and received trauma treatment. For the next two years, I was a fixture in the center. As I learned and healed, I felt confident enough to look for a job in Khanke village. Since graduating, I have been employed in a local tailoring shop, using the skills I learned from the FYF sewing instructor.

Shaha, 25 years