The Lotus Flower team was thrilled to welcome YouTube sensation Rosana Burgos to Kurdistan recently, where she saw for herself the life-changing achievements of our women and girl ISIS survivors.
During the trip, Rosana – known to her millions of followers as Mama Bee – visited all of our women’s centres at camps in Domiz, Essayan and Rwanga. She was so moved by the women’s heartbreaking stories and acts of strength that she generously donated $20,000 of her own money to the Lotus cause, saying: “It feels right in my heart.” An active One Young World Counsellor, Uruguayan-born Rosana said of her visit: “I will never forget any of these women, nor this experience.” Her kind donation will go towards funding the Lotus Flower’s fourth centre, offering another safe retreat where displaced women and girls can heal together and take part in income-generating training courses.
After flying in to Erbil in Kurdistan from her family home in Toronto, Rosana assisted with the launch of the Lotus Flower’s Boxing Sisters programme. The pioneering scheme trains girl survivors in boxing and self-defence, improving their wellbeing, mental health and helping them recover from the unimaginable ordeals inflicted upon them by ISIS. “I know a thing or two about boxing,” said Rosana, who gave the excited girls a masterclass in sparring moves and punches.
During her time at the three centres, Rosana also supported an empowering graduation ceremony for many of the women and girls who have completed Lotus Flower skills and training projects to date. In addition, she invited the women to a special lunch, which was expertly prepared by a chef at one of the centres. In addition, she was able to experience a flavour of true Kurdish culture, visiting sites such as the UNESCO Citadel.
A short film of Rosana’s visit shows the world that Kurdistan is now a safe haven for women and girls, and also that we have not forgotten their plight. As Rosana herself says: “I wanted to make them stronger, to know that there are women on the other side of the world who love and support them.”