Hope for the displaced on Sinjar Mountain | Mission East

Hope for the displaced on Sinjar Mountain

The children on the Sinjar Mountain are burdened with disturbing memories of murder and abuse. Mission East’s children centre allows them to process their trauma through playing and drawing. They also learn to do maths and write.
Thousands of Yazidis live in thin tents on Sinjar Mountain, as a result Mission East is fundraising for the winter.
Ayman lost his arm when he picked up a bomb. Here, he is showing his arm to Kim Hartzner (to the right) and warns other children not to pick anything up when they have no idea what it is.

Thousands of Yazidis in North Iraq have now returned to Sinjar Mountain from where they fled when the Islamic State attacked the area more than one year ago. Mission East is helping them with sanitation, shelter and processing the trauma.

Hundreds of thousands of Yazidis fled over Sinjar Mountain to escape the Islamic State one year ago. Thousands have now returned to the mountain in the hope that ISIL-controlled towns in the valley will soon be freed. Ten thousand people have returned from the Kurdish areas to which they fled and fifteen thousand have settled on the mountain since fleeing from the same area last year.  Mission East is helping them get through the winter.

“They can look down on the towns in the valley that are continually subjected to the terror of the Islamic State. They live in thin tents and lack just about everything,” says Kim Hartzner, Managing Director of Mission East.

He has just visited the many displaced persons that Mission East has helped with shelter and sanitation. Whilst there, he listened to the horrific stories of the Yazidis: “The Islamic State shot, killed and did things to us that we cannot speak of,” said the women and children to Kim Hartzner.

Mission East has helped a third of the 25,000 Yazidis by giving them tarpaulins, wood and tools, so they can protect themselves as much as possible. Hygiene products have also been issued in the form soap, shampoo, toothpaste, disinfectant, towels, water containers and solar panels that supply electricity in the dark.

“With winter just around the corner, everyone is asking for heaters and fuel. This is what Mission East will be distributing in the coming months to enable the families to survive the winter,” says Kim Hartzner.

Mission East has also established two centres on the mountain - one for women and one for children. Here, the women can talk about the inflicted abuse and trauma, and the children can play, draw, learn to do maths and write.