GUEST BLOG: Simon Butler, Migrate Art

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10 Days...

I have been back in London for 10 days, the same length of time I spent in Iraq. 10 days to process what I saw and heard, and 10 days to draw parallels between our lives and theirs. 10 days of connecting with people despite not speaking the same language, followed by 10 days of wondering why in a city of 9 million people, we are all so disconnected.  

We live in a society where human connection can disappear as easily as not replying to a text or swiping your finger across a screen in the wrong direction. Technology, advertising, news and politics are all focused on making the divides bigger and pushing us to think we are not the same, when, deep down, we all know that we are. 

During my trip, I met people that have experienced the most harrowing suffering, and returned to conversations of whose dating who, where to buy the best coffee and the anger a delayed train can cause. It would be the easy option to feel disillusioned, but we are all products of our environment. This is how our society is designed to make us behave. 

Those 10 days with a community of people that have suffered more than I can imagine, have kept me hopeful. To sit with people that have been sold as slaves and see them still able to smile gives me hope. To laugh and joke with children that were trained as soldiers gives me hope. To actually connect with human beings without relying on a phone or an app gives me hope. No matter how hard circumstances become, it seems that human connection will always win. 

I have cried more in 10 days than I have all year and felt more lost with the state of our society than ever before, but also felt more hopeful than ever before that human connection will always shine through.

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It has been a profound experience to see The Lotus Flower's work in Kurdistan. I had previously read stories, and been told about their work, but to see the projects first hand added a level of importance and integrity that words are unable to provide. It filled me with an immense sense of pride to know that a portion of the money we raised through our Multicolour project was being used by Taban and her team to help this community of displaced people rebuild themselves.

Earlier in 2019, we hosted an exhibition of artworks from many of the world's most important artists, and sold them at auction raising a total of £121,000. We then granted £25,250 of this to The Lotus Flower to support their work in Kurdistan, and it has been incredibly rewarding to see it being used in such a powerful way.

After seeing their work, I’m keen to continue supporting the art classes at the Lotus Flower centres, please do support me in this cause by donating here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/ArtMaterialsFund

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Lotus Flower Kurdistan Trip – July 2019

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July was a very important month for us at The Lotus Flower. For the first time, since we started in 2016 we all came together as a team and we also had some very special guests visiting our projects.

Over the past two years we’ve grown exponentially, going from our first centre in one camp, to having three centres and the ability to reach over 7500 women and girls! Not only that, our team has grown too, we’re now 25 strong and work from all corners of the globe to make this magic happen, including Kurdistan, the UK, New York and Berlin! We absolutely could not have got there without your support and the support of some incredibly generous and wonderful people cheering us on, fundraising, and helping to get our message out there, so for that we would like to thank each and every one of you!

So, what did we get up to?

We spent days in all three centres, visited literacy classes, boxing sessions, gave talks and business advice, we listened to the women’s stories, we ran art classes, made a video, we cooked with them, we ate with them, and even opened our first ever Lotus Flower Café!

Joining us on the trip were some incredible supporters running wonderful projects:

Asma Khan – Founder, The Darjeeling Limited

The Lotus Flower café

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Darjeeling Express restaurateur Asma Khan has been proudly supporting The Lotus Flower by raising funds to establish new cafés for women and girl ISIS survivors. The social enterprise cafés are an extension to our existing women and girl centres. Each café will provide conflict survivors with a safe space to meet friends and eat healthy, high-quality food.
 
With a shortage of culturally accepted public spaces for displaced women and girls to gather, as well as a lack of employment opportunities, it is difficult for them to rebuild their communities. Crucially, the camp cafés will be managed and operated by the women themselves. With the initial equipment, structures, capital goods and raw ingredients provided by The Lotus Flower, the cafés will enable skills-building, communication and healing. The women will retain any profits as an income, while furthering their cooking skills and gaining vital business knowledge.

Our café went from this empty tent, to this inviting, social space for the women:

Simon Butler – Founder, Migrate Art

The Lotus Flower art classes

Migrate was born in 2016 from a desire to help those affected by the global migrant crisis.

Since then they have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to help individuals and communities who have been displaced by war through auctioning artwork donated by artists. The Lotus Flower is one of 4 charities they support, and Simon came out to visit our projects to run some art classes for the girls who visit our centres.

Many of the teenagers in the camp seemed to have very little to do and boredom was really apparent. This makes young people extremely vulnerable and open to influences that could lead them to make damaging life decisions.

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We also saw the power that art has as a form of therapy. Migrate Art ran a number of art classes in the camps, and many of the participants chose to draw scenes from their lives that hint towards the extreme violence they have witnessed. This is why we are fundraising to buy the materials to start regular art classes for the young boys and girls in the camps

If you’d like to donate to this project please click here.

Alex Daniels – Film maker and Photographer.

Sharing stories through film

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Alex has had the chance to work on some great projects as a film-maker and photographer, but after hearing about the incredible work we’re doing at Lotus he wanted to do everything  possible to bring it to life on screen.

During the ISIS attacks of 2014-15, many of the women were raped, sold into slavery and violently abused. Thousands lost their homes, their loved ones and even their children. Video is the best way to capture these stories. By using the power of film to shine a spotlight on the Lotus Flower’s inspiring work, we can share with the world the positive impact our centres and our new café is having.

We can’t wait to share his film with you, so stay tuned!

Baroness Helena Kennedy

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Helena Kennedy is one of Britain's most distinguished lawyers. She has spent her professional life giving a voice to those who have least power within the system, championing civil liberties and promoting human rights.

She has used many public platforms – including the House of Lords, to which she was elevated in 1997 – to argue with passion, wit and humanity for social justice. She has also written and broadcast on a wide range of issues, from medical negligence, to terrorism, to the rights of women and children.

Whilst visiting the Lotus Flower centres Helena spoke to the women offering empowering messages of hope and also met with several of the women on a one to one basis to hear their stories. Being such an incredible advocate of women’s rights, we’re very grateful to have Helena’s support and advocacy to continue the work we do.

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Alongside the visits to our centres and strategising for the future, we had some wonderful moments with the centre users from learning to make kubeh (a kind of meat filled dumpling), drawing portraits, celebrating Asma’s birthday, giving impromptu photography workshops, sharing meals and visiting the most holy temple, Lalish.

It’s a trip we’ll never forget!

If you would like to donate to the Lotus Flower please click here:

Multicolour Art Auction raises money for Lotus!

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Migrate Art was born in 2016 from a desire to help those affected by the global migrant crisis. Since then they have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to help individuals and communities who have been displaced by war.

Multicolour was a major fundraising project from Migrate that received widespread mainstream media attention. Some of the most significant names in contemporary art created brand new works using pencils and crayons salvaged from the Calais Jungle refugee camp, formerly home to a community of approximately 10,000 refugees, demolished in 2016.

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From March 20th - 31st 2019, these works were exhibited at a dedicated exhibition at Cork Street Galleries in London's Mayfair before they were sold as part of Phillips’ ‘New Now’ sale on April 11th 2019. The sale raised a total of £122,000 for Migrate’s cause.

We, here at the Lotus Flower, are incredibly grateful to Simon Butler and the Migrate Art team for choosing us to be one of their 4 charities to donate to, and we cannot wait to welcome him out to Kurdistan to visit the projects he is helping to fund!

Head to their website to find out more: https://www.migrateart.com/multicolour

World Economic Forum paintings auctioned at Sotheby’s raise £32,500 for The Lotus Flower

Sotheby’s have auctioned a unique preparatory artwork of renowned Iranian political artist, Mehdi Ghadyanloo, for a staggering £32,500.

Sotheby’s have auctioned a unique preparatory artwork of renowned Iranian political artist, Mehdi Ghadyanloo, for a staggering £32,500.

Mehdi Ghadyanloo’s generously donated oil on canvas diptych, entitled Finding Hope, achieved a sale price of £32,500 at Sotheby’s.  All proceeds were donated to The Lotus Flower. The auctioned paintings were the preparatory study and inspiration for Ghadyanloo’s recent commission at the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Switzerland.

The collaboration came about after Tehran based Ghadyanloo and Lotus Flower founder, Taban Shoresh, met in London and discovered that both of their fathers were fighting against Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, leading them to live in Tehran at the same time for a short time. The pair bonded over a mutual desire to trigger hope in their homeland, having both come from backgrounds of poverty, persecution and war.

'Finding Hope' on display at Sotheby’s in London last month

'Finding Hope' on display at Sotheby’s in London last month

The son of a soldier and a carpet weaver, Ghadyanloo was inspired by western aesthetics and 21st century surrealism during his formative years and broke away from his rural life as a shepherd to pursue a career as an artist. Ghadyanloo has become the most prolific Iranian public artist with over 100 murals across the globe in the USA, the UK, Russia and his native Iran. Ghadyanloo’s works of art, often compared to the serene and surreal compositions of Magritte and Di Chirico, are imbued with brooding meditations on the sanctioned political landscape of his youth under the Islamic Republic and his own traumatising experiences of war.

In 2019, Ghadyanloo was invited to create the official artistic centrepiece for the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.  Ghadyanloo’s resulting 600 sq/ft work espoused the importance of women’s equality and was seen by an audience of world leaders and international CEOs.

Within Ghadyanloo’s preparatory paintings which recently raised £32,500 the balloon on one side must either rise or fall and eventually burst. Sitting next to the the balloon a glinting needle hangs like a damoclean sword endangering the fragile hope that the balloon represents. It it is crucial to notice thought that the needle is also threaded, and therefore as apt for creation and repair as for destruction.  

Ghadyanloo and Shoresh outside Sotheby’s in New Bond Street, London following the successful sale.

Ghadyanloo and Shoresh outside Sotheby’s in New Bond Street, London following the successful sale.

The Lotus Flower strive for a world where vulnerable girls and women are safe, have access to education, are empowered to participate in their communities, and are able to drive social and economic change through the charity’s pillars of education, livelihood, wellbeing, mental health, peace building and human rights and gender equality. 

Taban Shoresh said: “Mehdi’s act of generosity towards The Lotus Flower is humbling. We are delighted that he has chosen to support us and overwhelmed by the phenomenal amount raised, it will help us change so many women and girls’ lives.

“We are planning to use the sale proceeds to continue our work in Kurdistan, supporting the women and girls’ centres, enabling us to continue running much needed projects. The funds raised by the auction will help to run one of our women and girl’s centres for one year!”

http://www.thelotusflower.org/news/2019/5/6/world-economic-forum-paintings-auctioned-at-sothebys-raise-32500-for-the-lotus-flower

 


Love Who You Are!

Here at The Lotus Flower we do everything from the heart and with love. Our aim is to support amazing women and girls, who are already incredibly brave, courageous, strong and resilient, get back to the life they lost due to conflict and displacement. 

We support women through long term sustainability, providing tools and opportunities for them to be able to stand on their two feet, to support themselves, their families and their communities. Our projects have proven to be such a success in the camps with women and girls that we need to find new and creative ways to ensure we keep our projects going. 

This is where our new  t-shirt campaign  comes in. We want  everyone  to LOVE WHO YOU ARE. Some do, and some don't, and for those that don't we aim to support them to reach a place where they do love who they are. This is where we need your help!  Not only will all proceeds from t-shirt sales go towards continuing the work we do, but we want everyone who wears our t-shirt to proudly show love to themselves, and stand in solidarity with our women and girls. 

Photo Credit: @annelisemecca

Photo Credit: @annelisemecca

In a world where we are forced to become so many things we aren't, it's easy to forget who we truly are and how wonderfully unique we are. We want YOU to shout the love you have for yourself, embracing every single part of you. In the process not only are you loving yourself but you're supporting another women and girl to help rebuild her life and love herself. 

Please join us in sharing the love by using the hashtag #lovewhoyouare

To buy the t-shirt or tote bag click here.

Thank you, from all of us at Lotus x

Storytelling Sisters: The Lotus Flower's New Livelihood programme!

Annelise Mecca

Annelise Mecca

Our women and girl’s centres are a place of refuge, and hold a million stories. We’d love for the women we work with to have the opportunity to tell them, so we have teamed up with Annelise Mecca to launch Storytelling Sisters - a new project that aims to teach the women how to document their every day lives and stories through the medium of photo journalism.

We are currently fundraising to cover equipment costs for this new programme. Once the women have been taught the basics of photojournalism this is a skill that may be used to improve their livelihoods.

We appreciate any donation you are able to make to our centres.

To donate to this project please head to Annelise’s fundraising page: https://mydonate.bt.com/events/storytellingsisters/490603

A note from Annelise:

I’ve been lucky enough to capture some incredible sights, right across the world. Now I want to inspire women and girl survivors of ISIS conflict to tell their own unique stories through the power of photography.

By encouraging women and girls to work as photojournalists, the project will provide a new creative outlet that documents the untold stories of their everyday lives. All funds raised will go towards purchasing camera equipment, printing, SD cards, hard drives for digital storage and publishing.
 
I sincerely hope you can support this project generously and help me reach my target of £3,500. I look forward to updating you on our progress.
 
With love,
Annelise Mecca

Event date

30th March - 31st May 2019

World Economic Forum paintings auctioned at Sotheby’s for The Lotus Flower

Sotheby’s are to auction a unique preparatory artwork of renowned Iranian political artist Mehdi Ghadyanloo. All proceeds from the sale will go to The Lotus Flower, to support our work in supporting women and girl refugees displaced by ISIS in the Middle East.

The son of a soldier and a carpet weaver, Ghadyanloo was inspired by western aesthetics and 21st century surrealism during his formative years and broke away from his rural life as a shepherd to pursue a career as an artist. Ghadyanloo has become the most prolific Iranian public artist with over 100 murals across the globe in the USA, the UK, Russia and his native Iran. Ghadyanloo’s works of art, often compared to the serene and surreal compositions of Magritte and Di Chirico, are imbued with brooding meditations on the sanctioned political landscape of his youth under the Islamic Republic and his own traumatising experiences of war.

In 2019 Ghadyanloo was invited to create the official artistic centerpiece for The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Ghadyanloo’s resulting 600 sq/ft work espoused the importance of women’s equality and was seen by an audience of world leaders and international CEOs.

Ghadyanloo has made available the oil on canvas diptych, entitled Finding Hope, and which the inspiration for The World Economic Forum commission. Proceeds will be donated to The Lotus Flower NGO founded by Taban Shoresh, a Kurdistani-Iraqi genocide victim, who like Ghadyanloo, was raised by her mother while her father, a Peshmerga freedom fighter, likewise fought in the war against Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Shoresh adds, “Mehdi’s act of generosity towards The Lotus Flower is humbling. We are delighted that he has chosen to support us, as every penny raised from the auction will help us change more women and girls’ lives.”

Mehdi Ghadyanloo

Mehdi Ghadyanloo (b. 1981) is an Iranian artist known for his utopian and philosophical paintings that interrogate universal human precepts such as fear, hope and loss. Through the portrayal of minimal heterotopic environments, surreal architectural arrangements, and the repeated use of symbolic elements such as stairs, balloons and aeroplanes, Ghadyanloo invites us to consider new realities and the shared universality of our existence. Mehdi Ghadyanloo website: https://www.mehdighadyanloo.com

The World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests. The Forum strives in all its efforts to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance. Moral and intellectual integrity is at the heart of everything it does. Its activities are shaped by a unique institutional culture founded on the stakeholder theory, which asserts that an organization is accountable to all parts of society. The institution carefully blends and balances the best of many kinds of organizations, from both the public and private sectors, international organizations and academic institutions. The Forum believes that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change. The World Economic Forum website: https://www.weforum.org

Sotheby’s

Sotheby’ s has been uniting collectors with world-class works of art since 1744. Sotheby’ s became the first international auction house when it expanded from London to New York (1955), the first to conduct sales in Hong Kong (1973), India (1992) and France (2001), and the first international fine art auction house in China (2012). Today, Sotheby’ s presents auctions in 10 different salesrooms, including New York, London, Hong Kong and Paris, and Sotheby’ s BidNow program allows visitors to view all auctions live online and place bids from anywhere in the world. Sotheby’ s offers collectors the resources of Sotheby’ s Financial Services, the world’ s only full-service art financing company, as well as the collection advisory services of its subsidiary, Art Agency, Partners. Sotheby’ s presents private sale opportunities in more than 70 categories, including S|2, the gallery arm of Sotheby’s Global Fine Art Division, and two retail businesses, Sotheby’ s Diamonds and Sotheby’ s Wine. Sotheby’ s has a global network of 80 offices in 40 countries and is the oldest company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (BID). Sotheby’s website: https://www.sothebys.com

CURRENT VACANCIES - Essyan, Kurdistan region of Iraq

The Center Manager and Social Worker positions will need to have unhindered access to all parts of the Governorate and must have the ability to freely travel to any of the project locations. The positions are based in The Lotus Flower Women’s Center in Essyan Camp.

Please send the applications by e-mail to: vian@thelotusflower.org with the position in the subject line by 23rd March 2019. Lotus Flower might contact chosen applicants before mentioned deadline. Please note, that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

1. Center Manager

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Develop and monitor weekly plans for the center in coordination with the other staff.

  • Responsible for planning, organizing, and implementing the center's day-to-day activities in line with internal control procedures to ensure The Lotus Flower’s core values are met and maintained

  • Monitor the implementation of the activities set in the weekly plan and any other activities conducted by the assigned staff in the center

  • Required to submit a weekly report to Regional Program Manager on the status of the center and its activities

  • Required to manage and submit all financial documents, including receipts and reports to regional program manager and finance officer on a monthly basis

  • Responsible for daily financial and logistical procedures for the implementation of different activities in the center

  • Organize weekly and monthly meetings with the staff working in the center and issue the future plans for a better implementation of the job.

  • Attend meetings with the donor and provide all required information about the center’s programs

  • Prepare and provide a digital and hard copy of the updated documents related to the center job and send them to the Regional manager based on weekly and monthly plans.

  • Responsible for coordination with governmental and non-governmental institutions for better implementation of an effective work done in the center.

  • Responsible for evaluating staff performance, writing staff reviews, and updating the Regional Program manager

  • Required to work within the framework of The Lotus Flower’s Code of Conduct, Human Resource policy, and implement the safeguarding policy. The policy documents will be provided on the first day of employment and the new employee will be required to read and sign the documents.

  • Any other reasonable task, conducive to the safe and efficient running of the program, as detailed by the RM.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor Degree in management, business administration or other related fields.

  • Very good command of English and Kurdish/Arabic.

  • Minimum of 2 years related experience and/or training or equivalent combination of education and experience.

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office, especially Excel, Word and G-Suite, including gmail, typing and reporting.

  • Honesty and integrity are a must

  • Excellent communication skills, ability to manage confidentiality

  • Possesses strong organizational and problem-solving skills

  • Must be a self-starter and internally driven to success and hard work

  • Possesses strong cross-cultural communication skills, both written and verbal

  • Ability to read, analyze, and interpret common scientific and legal documents.

  • Experience working with NGOs or humanitarian organizations is a plus; understanding of humanitarian principles & values is a must

  • Knowledge or willingness to learn

  • Must be organized, able to multi-task, and able to work as a team and individual

  • Must be able to build relationships with people from all backgrounds

  • Be very flexible regarding time, tasks and responsibilities

  • Be very mature, professional, and organized

2. Social worker

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Respond to all requests from the Project Manager for information/interventions.

  • Coordinate with the community, social, and government entities to organize social, cultural and sport activities for IDP and Host community women.

  • Work in collaboration with the center manager to develop activities within the center.

  • Advocate for and help women access resources that would improve their well-being

  • Responsible for case management, including follow up with women who participate to ensure that their situations have improved.

  • Research and refer the case of these women to community resources, such as food stamps, child care, and health care

  • Organize awareness raising activities on how victims of GBV are impacted by the traditional cultural practices.

  • Attend trainings and conferences as required under the project.

  • Provide the project manager with weekly reports on all activities

  • Provide information to the project manager whenever required

  • Required to work within the framework of The Lotus Flower’s Code of Conduct, Human Resource policy, and implement the safeguarding policy. The policy documents will be provided on the first day of employment and the new employee will be required to read and sign the documents.

  • Any other reasonable task, conducive to the safe and efficient running of the program, as detailed by the RM.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor Degree in social science or other related fields.

  • Very good command of Kurdish and Arabic, English is a preference.

  • Minimum of 2 years related experience and/or training or equivalent combination of education and experience.

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office, especially Excel, Word and G-Suite, including gmail, and typing and reporting.

  • Honesty and integrity are a must

  • Excellent expression and communication skills, ability to manage confidentiality.

  • Experiences in working in protection field particularly vulnerable women and girls.

  • Possesses strong organizational and problem-solving skills

  • Must be a self-starter and internally driven to success and hard work

  • Possesses strong cross-cultural communication skills, both written and verbal

  • Ability to read, analyse, and interpret common scientific and legal documents.

  • Experience working with NGOs or humanitarian organizations is a plus; understanding of humanitarian principles & values is a must

  • Knowledge or willingness to learn

  • Must be organized, able to multi-task, and able to work as a team and individual

  • Must be able to build relationships with people from all backgrounds

  • Be very flexible regarding time, tasks and responsibilities

  • Be very mature, professional, and organized

Press Release: UK team in first legal action for redress for victims of ISIL foreign fighters

London, 28th February 2019 - A team of international lawyers and The Lotus Flower, a British-based non-profit for displaced women, are bringing the first civil action to gain compensation for the gross violations of human rights by a foreign ISIS fighter.

The move is aimed at finally securing some redress for victims of Islamic State foreign fighters. Thousands of Yezidi women and girls in Kurdistan Region of Iraq endured rape, torture, trafficking, enslavement and violence at the hands of jihadists during the atrocities of 2014-2015. While this issue has received considerable international attention, there has been little in the way of tangible justice, and no reparations for these female victims.

The decision to pursue a civil case first began two years ago, when founder of The Lotus Flower, Taban Shoresh, began piecing together the sheer scale of female suffering – and the impact such brutalisation was still having on women years later.

Through its specialist centres at camps in the areas where the atrocities took place Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Shoresh’s non-profit supports female survivors through a series of diverse projects – including education, livelihoods, mental health, human rights, peacebuilding and wellbeing.

Taban Shoresh, Founder

A child genocide survivor herself during Saddam Hussein’s regime, London-based Shoresh says: “Over the past two years, we’ve worked very closely in supporting Yezidi women and girls, many unable to move forward over the crimes committed against them by ISIL. Despite widespread international condemnation of such acts of terror, nobody has established a route to bring redress or justice for them. The women and girls feel like they have been forgotten.”

Shoresh has joined forces with the pro bono practice at international law firm Hogan Lovells to instigate legal proceedings. A team of international lawyers is acting for a small group of women who are willing to give evidence, with initial hearings imminent.

The action will focus on ‘home-grown’ ISIS fighters – identified by the women – from western countries, including Australia. Susan Bright, Regional Managing Partner – UK and Africa at Hogan Lovells, says: "The Australian justice system provides an opportunity for the victims of crimes to seek redress. We are asking for the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which is part of the Australian justice system, to recognise the unique situation of our clients, who are part of a community that was systematically subjected to gross violations of human rights law by an Australian ISIS fighter. This legal action seeks redress and reparations for the victims, a principle recognised in international law but which, in our view, should also be available in practice."

Shoresh believes “There is a gap between the moral imperative to bring justice to victims of the depravations committed by foreign fighters who joined ISIL, and available legal avenues for reparations. We are working hard on this, but we need leadership from Australia, UK, indeed all Governments. Australia, with its strong rhetoric and clear policies on the need for justice could use its established victims of crime compensation scheme to show the world that these victims are not forgotten. And ultimately, these reparations need not be at the cost of our taxpayers - surely compensating those enslaved and abused by ISIL and its foreign fighters is the best to use funds seized or frozen from them".

A recent report from the International Federation for Human Rights highlighted the ‘refusal’ of international authorities to repatriate and prosecute foreign fighters. In 2015, up to 31,000 ISIS recruits were believed to have come from as many as 86 different countries – including an estimated 850 British nationals.

Andras Vamos-Goldman, the former Executive Director of Justice Rapid Response, the intergovernmental facility that provides the international community with trained professionals to investigate the kinds of crimes that ISIL’s foreign fighters are reported to have committed, believes that providing compensation to survivors of such atrocities is an essential, yet largely missing element in the global community’s response. “By itself, bringing perpetrators of the worst crimes known to humanity to account will not end the cycles of violence around the world that breed such atrocities – surely our ultimate goal. The victims of these crimes need to feel that justice has been done – and redress, even if nominal, is an important component of this. Only then can we expect them to embrace the “rule of law”, in place of the “rule of the gun”, reducing the number of recurring cycles of violence."

Ultimately, the group hopes that this action will encourage the Australian government to lead the way, becoming the first country in the world to provide redress and justice to Yezidi survivors. Chris Crewther MP, Australian Federal Member of Parliament for the electorate of Dunkley, says "I have long supported efforts in the Australian Parliament to highlight the situation of the Yezidi women and I support The Lotus Flower’s efforts to seek redress for them."

“There is inevitably a focus on the foreign fighters and their wives and individual names attract attention in the media but for us it is about the principle of accountability of all foreign fighters” Shoresh says. “There must be some accountability to the victims and they should not be forgotten.”

Although the compensation sums are unlikely to be large, Shoresh adds: “It is less about the amount of money, and more about formally recognising what these women have been through, in a realistic and dignified way. Of course it will never take away their pain, but we believe compensation will bring them a sense of closure, while showing that the world has not simply abandoned them.”

For more information about The Lotus Flower and the Supporting Survivors Initiative, please contact us through this form.

The Lady with the Knife

This is a guest blog written by contributor: Arayish Barzinjee-Martsch

In the Kurdistan Region’s larger cities, young girls often attend school, play with their friends, or spend time learning how to use new apps on their smartphones, just to name a few activities youth are engaged in today. Meanwhile, in the rural and more tribal areas of the region, young girls are fighting to hide from the lady who visits each house to perform the female equivalent of a circumcision—the lady with the knife.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is an ancient tradition forced upon girls between the ages of 0-12, in an attempt to control their “sexual desires” in their later years. This baseless tradition has been passed down through many generations of women, stemming from the patriarchal desire to control a female. FGM is a practice that leaves a profound and lasting effect on a women’s life.

The birth of a daughter is often celebrated, even seen as a good omen in some countries. But in other places around the world, it is viewed as a burden, a virgin vessel that carries the great responsibility of carrying the family honor. Females in the family are often overprotected to keep this perceived “honor” intact to preserve the reputation of the family. Limited in her activities, especially in any interaction with the opposite sex, in order to keep her “pure.” Within these societies, altering the natural anatomy via genital mutilation was thought to diminish sexual desires within the female, thus, less chance of bringing shame or dishonor upon themselves.

Young girls have no knowledge of this practice as adults in the family usually decide their fate. Despite being banned by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and made illegal, FGM is still practiced today. The “lady with the knife” has become better at performing secretly in homes of families who generously compensate her for her service. Typically, the process begins by using a small, unsterilized butcher’s knife to dig out the young girl’s clitoris. The clitoris is erroneously believed to be the culprit that urges the female to seek sexual pleasure, an act of great shame.

The only anatomical part of the body solely purposed for sexual pleasure removed by one quick slice, if she is lucky. These young girls are expected to endure great pain without the relief of anesthesia, often held down by women and muzzled with cloth to muffle her screams from the outside world.

You wonder, how is her treatment unlike that of a sheep sent to a slaughterhouse?

If all goes well, her wounds are expected to heal in two weeks. But more often than not, these girls experience excessive bleeding and infections, and in some cases, even death.

The psychological healing, however, lasts a lifetime.

I have heard countless stories from my grandmother, aunts, cousins, and even my mother, of the devastating effects imprinted on the minds of these women, for whom the joys of womanhood have been forever silenced, not ever knowing what it feels to climax the way they normally would before their genitals were mutilated. There are women who, after enduring botched FGM procedures, live a life in constant embarrassment as they cover the smell of urine from their bodies because “the woman with a knife cut too deeply.” Women who are robbed from the pleasures that come with sharing that intimate moment with their partner, a partner who may not understand the difficulties in their physical relationship.

The list goes on and on.

We can all become the voice of reason, to teach those who continue to believe and practice this tradition about the devastating and often fatal effects of these life-altering decisions. Reporting the “lady with the knife” and the co-conspirators involved is a big step, as victims are often under control by their families and may not have the means to report this abuse. And should they come forward, they risk being accused of shaming themselves and their family, many becoming honor-victims as a result.

Do not stay silent. Use your voice to put an end to this criminal act because they cannot.

It is 2019. We can and should step up to save these girls, and their bodies, from a lifetime of injustice.

Barzinjee was born in Erbil to parents who were revolutionaries against Saddam Hussain’s Ba’ath Regime. In 1974, her family was exiled and lived in Kerej, Iran, until they migrated to the United States in 1977. She was raised in South Dakota but later moved to Virginia where she studied Fine Arts and Art History. After the no-fly zone was established in Iraq in 1992, Barzinjee decided to move back and reside in Erbil in 1999 and immersed her time in humanitarian aid efforts through the UN, KRG-Council of Ministers & various NGOs (local & international) where her professional, language and cultural skills could benefit. 

Revoking citizenship makes the ISIS problem worse – not better

Written by Taban Shoresh

The decision to revoke Shamima Begum’s British citizenship was applauded by many, but such an impetuous approach will never be the solution for handling so-called ISIS brides or anyone that joined the group.

While it is a major problem when any national wishes to renounce the caliphate and return to home shores, stripping them of their citizenship slams the door on the prospect of a fair trial for any victim of ISIS atrocity. It also removes the chance of putting war crimes and human rights violations back on the agenda, which has all but disappeared from discussion.

For over three years now, The Lotus Flower has provided support to more than five thousand women and girls impacted by the atrocities committed by ISIS. The stories and experiences survived by them vary widely, but at the heart of every single case is severe trauma and violation of human rights.

As well as offering vital support for women and girls, we have been working hard to try and secure legal remedies and improved rights for female survivors. Many high-profile figures like Nadia Murad and Amal Clooney have also campaigned tirelessly to keep the plight of ISIS victims at the forefront of public consciousness, and also for more productive responses from the international community.

Ultimately, every victim of ISIS has the right to take their perpetrator to court – however reprehensible their own actions. But if nations tear up the citizenship of former recruits, they have no hope of justice, legal recourse or even punishment. Instead of being made stateless, the nature of their crimes should be thoroughly investigated, and they should be held accountable before our courts of law in the same way as any other civilian. Failure to do so is not only unjust, but also dangerous; casting victims out of the system means they disappear from our radar, which poses a real and credible threat. In addition, the responsibility for such individuals should not lie with states still struggling with the aftermath of conflict; they have had more than enough to cope with already.

Finally, what message does it convey to any girl or woman who may contemplate joining a terrorist organisation in future? It tells her she can sign up, commit abhorrent crimes and then seek shelter in a refugee camp when it’s all over. It also suggests that her home country will simply cut her adrift, allowing her to move freely and without any kind of ramification. She will still have open access to friends and family, as well as other sinister networks and cells. Where is the deterrent in any of this?

Regardless of the angry, knee-jerk reaction clouding this emotive issue, the removal of citizenship could perhaps be viewed as the easy option, because we may not have the legal systems required to manage ex-recruits after their return. If this is the case, then it seems that we have a much bigger – and equally worrying – problem on our hands...


If you would like to find out more please contact us and someone will get back to you.

First Lotus Supper Club of 2019

We kicked off the first Lotus Supper Club of 2019  in style at Tom’s Kitchen

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Guests were greeted with champagne drinks, followed by an absolutely delicious two-course meal, prepared by the wonderful staff at Tom’s Kitchen in Chelsea. This food really is good for the soul!

This was our first fundraiser of the year, a room full of supporters coming together to share their experience, make meaningful connections and drive change for a brighter future for the women and girls.

Lotus founder, Taban, delivered a speech about her personal story; the journey her life has brought her on and how this has driven the passion to create The Lotus Flower. Our sole aim is to deliver support and enhance the lives of the women and girls we work with.

Lena Corner, a journalist who has visited Kurdistan, spoke about her experience and the work she’s seen Lotus do on the ground, and the impact it has had.

"from what I witnessed, The Lotus Flower work is like any other charity I've seen, the women and girls are so engaged and there's a great sense of community feeling in all the centres"

Dr. Jane, a fully-qualified GP and Aesthetic doctor, then spoke about why she's chosen to be part of Lotus and how she is looking forward to her upcoming trip where she will go out and train the women in life support first aid and self-screening for breast cancer.

"I’m really excited to be able to use my skills to empower the women through medical training to be able to look after themselves and family even after we leave - knowledge is power"

For our first supper club of the year, it was a really successful fundraising night where our guests were able to enjoy lovely food, inspiring talks, and even a set by an acoustic singer.

This will be the first of many Supper Clubs we host this year.

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Current Vacancies - Dohuk, Kurdistan Region of Iraq

Project coordinator

The project coordinator will work under the supervision of Lotus Flower regional manager and maintain close liaison with Lotus flower UK office.

The Project Coordinator will need to have unhindered access to all parts of the Governorate and must have the ability to freely travel to any of the project locations. The position is based in Rwanga community ( Qadia camp) .

General Responsibilities:

·      Required to work within the framework of The Lotus Flower’s Code of Conduct, Human Resource policy, and implement the safeguarding policy.  The policy documents will be provided on the first day of employment and the new employee will be required to read and sign the documents.

·      Maintain and care for all equipment issued by Lotus Flower and for any loss or damage, you will be liable for repair or replacement.

·      Follow all verbal and/or written instructions, unless in direct violation of safety and duty of care.

·      Ensure a safe workplace and protect property and equipment from damage.

·      Contribute to methodology development.

·      Responsible for planning, organizing, and implementing all trainings and activities related to the Women’s Business Incubator program. 

·      Required to manage and submit all financial documents, including receipts and reports to regional program manager and finance officer.

·      Any other task or duty as assigned by the Regional manager.

·      Establish a clear understanding of the dynamics of the Governorates, the key stakeholders and establish firm networks and links with the community development and emergency departments, line ministries, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs,) Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and other social partners, in sensitising communities for participation in the design, implementation.

·      Where appropriate, facilitate and consult with resident representatives and groups, and other stakeholders arranging meetings.

·      Maintain and update a database with all relevant contacts from different government representatives, local NGOs, governorates and other key stakeholders

·      Supply a weekly security debriefing at the project weekly meeting, relevant to field visits for the project staff with required authority.

·      Establish and maintain a network of contacts, building relationships with key actors (formal and informal).

·      Ensure Asset security guards have access to basic security equipment’s.

·      Act as an interpreter for LF expats as and when required during the course of their duties while traveling and visiting field activities as required in all governorates.

·      Any other reasonable task, conducive to the safe and efficient running of the programme, as detailed by the RM.

Required qualifications:

·      Bachelor Degree in  management , business administration or other related fields.

·      Very good command of English and Kurdish/Arabic.

·      Minimum of 2 years related experience and/or training or equivalent combination of education and experience.

·      Proficiency in Microsoft Office, especially Excel, Word and G-Suite, including gmail, and typing and reporting.

·      Honesty & integrity are a must

·      Excellent expression and communication skills, ability to manage confidentiality

·      Possesses strong organizational and problem-solving skills

·      Must be a self-starter and internally driven to success and hard work

·      Possesses strong cross-cultural communication skills, both written and verbal

·      Ability to read, analyze, and interpret common scientific and legal documents.

·      Experience working with NGOs or humanitarian organizations is a plus; understanding of humanitarian principles & values is a must

·      Knowledge or willingness to learn

·      Must be organized, able to multi-task, and able to work as a team and individual

·      Must be able to build relationships with people from all backgrounds

·      Be very flexible regarding time, tasks and responsibilities

·      Be very mature, professional, and organized

Monitoring and Evaluation officer

Responsibilities:

·       To ensure that the indicators for the project in Dohuk are being met.

·       To create materials to inform beneficiaries of our organization and of the aid we are offering through this project.

·       Set up ways to measure complaints or positive feedback from community, and beneficiaries.

·       To be part of a small team and help when necessary to ensure success of the project

·       To record and analyze the results and impact of each iteration of vocational training.

·       To record the legal cases handled by the project and to follow up with the beneficiaries.

·       Develop M&E plans, data collection plans, and monitoring tools to track and monitor projects performance and effectiveness.

·       Participate in preparing the needed reporting scheme, communication with field teams and other stakeholders of the projects on M&E related issues.

·       Monitor and ensure that project indicators are met and recorded accordingly.

·       Update and compile field visits reports.

·       Review and follow up on the means of verification coming from the field teams.

·       Analyze weekly data, monitoring trends and highlighting concerns.

·       In cooperation with field team identify and document lessons learned and ensure their sharing inside and outside the organization.

·       Submit monthly status reports to Regional Manager (Dohuk) and International Projects Manager (London)

·      Required to work within the framework of The Lotus Flower’s Code of Conduct, Human Resource policy, and implement the safeguarding policy.  The policy documents will be provided on the first day of employment and the new employee will be required to read and sign the documents.

Required qualifications

·      Preferred Bachelor’s degree in statistics, research methods, or any other relevant field of study.

·      1+ years of professional work experience in designing and executing project management frameworks, preferably in humanitarian or development programs.

·      Proven experience in data collection and analysis, data management and reporting.

·      Excellent knowledge of and expertise in log frames, monitoring and evaluation, and of relevant software.

·      Experience working with local NGOs, INGOs, or government bodies is an advantage.

·      Fluent English and Arabic (spoken and written).

·      Ability to work in a team and adhere to tight deadlines in a dynamic and fast-paced work environment

Finance Officer

·       Establishes the daily finance transaction in Dohuk Office, verifies all receipts and invoices before preparing the payment and ensure that the payment is done in due time.

·       Cash management; monitor cash balance and arrange regular cash transfers.

·       Establishes monthly pay slips after collection of the necessary elements.

·       Prepares the required accounting elements every month for review by the Regional Manager and final check by UK office and ensures end of month accounts are submitted to HQ on time.

·       Ensures archiving of the monthly accounting documents.

·       Monitors budget at country level, including preparation of donor allocation boards in accordance with donor funding management in HQ.

·       Assesses the financial requirements for the coming month and prepares monthly fund requests to HQ in conjunction with the Regional manager

·       Assists Regional Manager in annual budget preparation for HQ and donor proposals.

·       Preparation of financial reports for institutional donors.

·       Preparation of Audits

·       Act as primary liaison for external authorities, ministries, and government departments for finance and tax.

·       Assist  Regional Manager  on the capacity building workshops for the function of Finance

·       Required to work within the framework of The Lotus Flower’s Code of Conduct, Human Resource policy, and implement the safeguarding policy.  The policy documents will be provided on the first day of employment and the new employee will be required to read and sign the documents.

Required Qualifications

·       Bachelor Degree in Accounting, Finance, Business Administration or Equivalent.

·       Very good command of English and Kurdish/Arabic.

·       Minimum of 2 years related experience and/or training or equivalent combination of education and experience.

·       Proficiency in Microsoft Office, especially Excel, Word and Outlook email. Accuracy in typing

·       Working experience with Financial software packages.

·       Honesty & integrity are a must

·       Excellent expression and communication skills, ability to manage confidentiality

·       Possesses strong organizational and problem-solving skills

 

HR and Operations officer

Responsibilities:

·      To provide inputs to regular updates of HR database of LF staff 

·      To provide inputs to regular update of the Annual Leave Register of local staff;

·      To collect personnel documents of LF team to be archived in HR personnel folders, both in hard copies and soft copies;

·      Ensure HR documentation, including signed contracts, code of conduct, HR policy, safeguarding policy documents, and leave requests are collected from LF staff and sent to UK Office in a timely manner;

·      To coordinate recruitments in  camp level and assist with the recruitment and hiring of local staff and service providers like cleaners, guards, loaders and drivers;

·      To provide support with orientation and induction to new volunteers, trainers, and staff members; ensure induction on HR procedures, Lotus Flower Code of Conduct and Key Policies, National Staff Policy, and the Safeguarding policy; send signed documents to Lotus Flower HQ in London

·      To support with translation of documents and/or during meetings and trainings.

·      Ensure management of local operations process and policy

·      Required to work within the framework of The Lotus Flower’s Code of Conduct, Human Resource policy, and implement the safeguarding policy.  The policy documents will be provided on the first day of employment and the new employee will be required to read and sign the documents.

 

Required Qualifications

·      Excellent spoken and written English,Arabic and Kurdish

·      MS Office (Outlook, Word, Excel)

·      Experience with HR administration and recruitment (CV shortlisting, conducting interviews

·      Excellent communication skills

·      Strong multitasking and coordination skills

·      Accuracy and attention to details


To apply for the posts:

Please send the applications by e-mail to:  vian@thelotusflower.org   with subject of job title by latest 9/1/2019.  Lotus Flower might contact chosen applicants before mentioned deadline. Please note, that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Those shortlisted will needed to provide two references.


The Lotus Flower and Siggy Smalls: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Popular London DJ Siggy Smalls, known as much for her fabulous hair as her energetic stage performances, is joining with The Lotus Flower for a dramatic fundraiser - she's shaving her head!

Siggy plays dozens of events worldwide, has a global following on social media, and recently played A Night with The Lotus Flower in London's Soho. She shares our ethos of supporting women in rebuilding their lives in Kurdistan and we're touched by her continuous support.

To donate to her fundraiser, please see the link below.

https://mydonate.bt.com/events/hairtodaygonetomorrow/481905

The Lotus Flower and Dr. Jane Leonard are bringing first aid training to women's centres

The Lotus Flower is please to welcome Dr. Jane Leonard to our centres in Kurdistan!

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Dr. Leonard, a qualified GP and cosmetic doctor, will be providing essential health services, such as first aid training, breast cancer screenings, and other vital medical checks. Following years of displacement and protracted conflict, women in the region are rebuilding their lives but many still struggle to access basic healthcare services due to the remote locations of the camps and minimal transportation. The Lotus Flower, as part of our commitment to healthcare as a basic human right, is honored to partner with Dr. Leonard to bring this much needed service to our centres.

To donate in support of this initiative, please see Dr. Leonard's fundraising page here:

https://mydonate.bt.com/events/medicaltraining/481925


Hairdressing Sisters: The Lotus Flower's New Livelihood programme!

Hairdressing Sisters is a new income generating project for The Lotus Flower, which supports women and girls in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq following years of conflict, displacement and sexual violence.

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After an assessment with the women, we had a great response from many who said they'd most like to learn hairdressing, because it will allow them to earn an income – anywhere, and for life.

Gareth Smith, a London-based stylist to celebrities, will be traveling to our women's centres to conduct intensive training on the basics of cutting and styling hair.

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Gareth and The Lotus Flower are currently fundraising to cover the equipment costs and logistics in order to implement this new livelihood training programme. Once the women graduate from the course, they will have the skills necessary to provide this service to other residents and improve their financial independence.

We would greatly appreciate any donation to help bring this new initiative to our centres!

https://mydonate.bt.com/events/hs/476721



HACHE BURGER SOCIAL: Asma Khan creates Lotus Burger just for us!

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We are beyond excited to start the New Year with a fantastic partnership with Asma Khan and Hache Burger Social, with her first ever collaboration. Asma has created a ‘Lotus Burger’ just for us, with £1 of every burger sold going straight to The Lotus Flower to support the new Lotus Cafe project.


The Lotus Burger.

Crispy ‘Bengali Chop’ vegetable patty, topped with grilled seasoned aubergine, pickled red onion, lettuce, tomato, mustard and turmeric and chilli mayo on a toasted turmeric brioche bun.

£10.50 with £1 being donated to The Lotus Flower charity 

Asma’s Turmeric Chilli Frites.

Seasoned with turmeric, chilli and Indian spices complete with sprinkled sesame seeds

£5.50 with 50p donated to charity 

Order both for £15 – £1 will be donated to the charity

Available in all restaurants from Friday 4th January

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Born in Calcutta, Asma moved to the UK over 20 years ago. Following a successful five-year stint hosting supper clubs, Asma opened her first restaurant, Darjeeling Express, in Soho last year.

The restaurant’s kitchen is staffed exclusively by women who Asma calls her ‘tribe’.After a successful cook book launch for “Asma’s Indian Kitchen”, this is Asma’s first collaboration, will coincide with her appearance on the hit Netflix series, Chef’s Table, which will explore Asma’s journey through food and identity in both London and her native India. Asma will be the first British chef to appear on the show.

Recent accolades, including Asma being crowned the Female Entrepreneur of the Year at the Asian Restaurant Awards 2018 and Entrepreneur of the Year in the Asian Women of the Year Awards makes Asma a force to be reckoned with on the London food scene.

To donate to the Lotus Flower Cafe project you can do so here.

Asma Khan supports The Lotus Flower café project for 2019

Darjeeling Express restaurateur Asma Khan is proudly supporting The Lotus Flower charity for 2019, by raising funds to establish groundbreaking new cafés for women and girl ISIS survivors.

The social enterprise cafés are an extension to existing women and girl centres set up by The Lotus Flower at camps in Kurdistan, northern Iraq. Each café will provide conflict survivors with a safe space to meet friends and eat healthy, high-quality food.

Passionate about the importance of food within our heritage, Asma believes teaming up with The Lotus Flower will make a real difference to women and girl survivors in 2019. “It is empowering. We need to link up, and food is a great way to do that. Food is the chain that binds us.”

Founder Taban Shoresh says: “We are thrilled to be working with Asma on the next stage of The Lotus Flower journey. A real institution in the food world and an inspiring figure to thousands, Asma is the ideal partner for our pioneering café project.” 

With a shortage of culturally accepted public spaces for displaced women and girls to gather, as well as a lack of employment opportunities, it is difficult for them to rebuild their communities. Crucially, the camp cafés will be managed and operated by the women themselves. With the initial equipment, structures, capital goods and raw ingredients provided by The Lotus Flower, the cafés will enable skills-building, communication and healing. The women will retain any profits as an income, while furthering their cooking skills and gaining vital business knowledge.

The Lotus Flower is a non-profit which provides safe, supportive environments for women and girl survivors of the atrocities committed by ISIS in 2014. With two women’s centres already established in Rwanga province and Domiz 2, a third centre in Essyan is soon to open. To date, the charity has supported more than 5,000 survivors who have suffered unimaginable ordeals – including rape, trafficking, slavery and forced marriage.

By investing in their futures, The Lotus Flower enables women and girls to be at the heart of social and economic regeneration. They take part in a range of successful programmes that align with Sustainable Development Goals, including education, mental health, livelihood, wellbeing, human rights, gender equality and peace-building.

https://mydonate.bt.com/events/thelotusflowercafe/481926

The Lotus Flower receives Care International grant

Leading humanitarian agency Care International has awarded The Lotus Flower a grant to help fund training and enterprise skills for a small group of women.

Only two grants were given for the entire Middle Eastern region, and The Lotus Flower’s Women’s Business Initiative (WBI) was considered one of the two worthy recipients of funding for training and mentorship. The grant will support around 15 women based at the Rwanga Community Camp as they develop their own small business initiatives.

Care International’s grant is part of a scheme to tackle gender-based violence in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan. In Iraq, it was decided that the grants should go towards women and girls who have suffered physical abuse and been denied resources and opportunities. 

The training scheme is set to run for three months, with mentorship continuing throughout the year. In addition, The Lotus Flower’s centre for women and girls will host awareness sessions on gender-based violence, as well as women’s legal rights.

Founder Taban Shoresh says: “We are delighted that Care International has chosen to support us. The grant will provide an invaluable opportunity for many of our women to seek economic and financial independence at long last. Crucially, this can be on their own terms and reflect the needs of their own community – which they know better than anyone else.”

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The Lotus Flower delivers winter clothing to children

Winter in Kurdistan is notoriously harsh, but the conditions are even more punishing for families and children living in rudimentary camps.

With temperatures regularly dropping below freezing, keeping warm is a continual challenge, so The Lotus Flower recently distributed 240 items of clothing to children at the Rwanga and Domiz 2 camps.

In conjunction with Zarok and Khaima NGOs, the ‘Coats for Children’ scheme saw winter essentials like jackets and socks donated to young refugees – most of whom were left orphans after losing their parents to ISIS.

The Lotus Flower’s founder Taban Shoresh said: “Winter is by far the hardest time of year for displaced people. The infrastructure in the camps is not designed to cope with freezing weather, and most people live in tents or basic cabins which have little or no heating.  The camps are also in rural areas which become a sea of mud during winter, so it’s vital we do all we can to make things more bearable.”

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