Activity at IMS’ Humanitarian Information Centre in Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan.
© IMS
Activity at IMS’ Humanitarian Information Centre in Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan.
International Media Support (IMS)
Last updated: April 15, 2015

Creativity brings sense of normalcy for young refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan (PHOTOS)

Banner Icon “My heart is flooded with joy to meet new people and to get out of the camp for a change. A bit of normalcy for once.” Asmaa, a young Turkmen girl was driven from her home by Islamic State and now lives in a refugee camp. She came to meet other girls her age at a creative art event hosted by IMS’ Humanitarian Information Centre in Sulaymaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan.

“I can’t be the girl from the camp all the time.”

Asmaa and the other girls either internally displaced, Syrian refugees or from the local community, were asked to paint on non-recyclable items, which were then folded into plant pots, with each potted plant intended a symbol of unity for the girls who come from a variety of religious backgrounds and nationalities.

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“Displacement is not only having to leave your country, but to be forced to deny your identity because you are an unaccepted minority,” says Asema, a young Yazidi girl, who describes how she crossed the Sinjar Mountains in northern Iraq with her family to escape Islamic State. She witnessed women being kidnapped in her village and the death of her younger sister caused by the harsh conditions the family faced fleeing.

Now she is drawing to express herself and deal with the emotional aftermath of her traumatic experiences. She draws what she describes as a ‘bleeding Sinjar’.

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The Humanitarian Information Centre, set up by International Media Support in collaboration with UNHCR, offers internally displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees with access to information on available services, and their opportunities and rights as refugees and IDPs.

The Centre holds a library of key information and reading material and offers internet access and reaches out to the local community through outreach teams and local media partners.

Kiyada, from a nearby camp of internally displaced Iraqi Kurds, embraced the event with her poems and songs while painting.

It was her first time to come out of the camp since she was displaced, expressing her wishes to visit the Humanitarian Information Centre frequently and to take advantage of services such as the library.

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Lena, an Iraqi Kurdish girl from the local community of Sulaymaniyah said she was always eager to get to know IDPs and refugees. “Today I learned that we are all the same even if we have different dreams in life.”

The recent sharp increase in internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Kurdish Region is recognised as one of the world’s most dire humanitarian crises.

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IMS has been actively supporting the Iraqi media since 2005. In the current climate, its work includes humanitarian information and communication to meet the vast and unfortunately growing needs of the hundreds of thousands of IDPs and refugees in the country and around.

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