During the program, the girls worked together to produce a magazine called Afrandin (meaning Creation), which they wrote, edited and designed. At the beginning, some of the Yezidi and Muslim girls would not even sit together, but by the end, they were working in harmony and building lasting friendships. One of the girls has since even been hired at a Yezidi publication.
As English is the main language that is spoken throughout the world, it is becoming an essential skill to learn for professional development in the Middle East. Beginning in January 2017, the Lotus Flower began offering beginner and intermediate-level English courses for women. Each course can last between 1 – 3 months, depending on the needs of the students.
To complement the language courses and provide additional professional skills, the Lotus Flower provides computer training courses for women and girls. This training provides a base level of computer skills, which are a valuable asset in most modern professions. Most of the women and girls attending these courses had never used a computer before, so the instructors start from the basics, including turning the computers on and off, opening files, and using office software.
We want to teach women to sew and weave in order to learn the skills to earn a living one-day to support themselves and their families.The Lotus Flower will be working with Yazidi women in Kurdistan region of Iraq. The atrocities Yazidi women have faced hit the headlines in August 2014, and are still doing so today.
As the rise of ISIS forced many people to flee their homes, internally-displaced people fled to camps in northern Iraq. The majority of IDPs are from small villages and most of the female population were unable to attend school due to traditional, conservative policies or a lack of financial resources. As many of the women now find themselves solely responsible for their family, the lack of education has potential disastrous consequences for their future.
The Lotus Flower is collaborating with Days for Girls, an international NGO that advocates and promotes sustainable solutions for female menstrual health, as well as the Presbyterian Church, to implement a menstrual health education program to girls between 12-16 years old who are currently living in the internally-displaced camps within the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
The Lotus Flower operates a women’s center that provides a safe and welcoming space for women while offering various activities and training programs. One of the aims of the center was to provide indirect psycho-social support for women who had experienced violence and/or sexual trauma at the hands of ISIS foot soldiers. Coming together to attend these classes has enabled the women to reconnect and create a network of support and friendship.
The Lotus Flower provides ad hoc support to survivors of genocide inside and outside of Kurdistan. The programming can include awareness training sessions, such as legal issues and women’s rights, as well as professional psychological support. The Survivor Support program creates custom responses to individual cases based on the situation.
The Lotus Flower will be launching Peace Sisters, a competition and incubator for peace movements created and led by local women and girls. Applications should include a proposal that illustrates how the project will foster peace among communities and be submitted by an individual, rather than an organization, as we want to support women at the heart of the community.