I am Arianne Willeboer and since 2018 I work and live in Kurdistan among the Yazidi refugees from Sinjar (Shingal).
I have a vision for the children and young people to offer them a better future despite the circumstances and history.
I run the children’s center together with my team of teachers, which was founded in 2021. In addition, I am often on the road to visit children and their families and offer help where necessary.
Jinit & Anwar
My name is Jinit, I’m Yazidi from Sinjar. I am happy to be able to work in the center. I can finally do what I studied for. I have a lot of ideas and it’s so nice to get this opportunity to work with the kids. Children are like a blank page, still unwritten. We must be good examples for these children and teach them good things. I am happy to work with these children.
I am married to Anwar. We live with my family in a tent in Sharia, actually in the middle of the village. We can just make ends meet but as soon as something goes on, if someone in the family is sick, it is difficult to pay the bills. It’s nice that we now have extra income.
My name is Anwar and I am 29 years old. Before this I worked for different organizations for shorter periods. I enjoy working with the younger children. Sometimes it is quite difficult to divide my attention between the children. They all come to the center full of enthusiasm and anticipation. It is nice that I can work here with my husband.
I think it’s great that I can make a difference for the children in the old villages, they generally have fewer opportunities and many of their parents are depressed.
My name is Shelan and I live close to the children’s center. I teach two days a week to the pre-schoolers, grades one through grade three. In addition, I do the Arabic/Kurdish lessons for the illiterate women and girls. It is very nice work, Moqimi helps us and I in turn can help the children. They suffered after the genocide and the flight. Even though those children were born only after their parents became displaced, they are very much affected by what happened to the community. When the children are with us in the center they can forget the troubles and stories of home. It is also good for the parents that the children can come to our center. This way the parents also have more peace of mind. Many parents are depressed by the circumstances under which they live and struggle with trauma.
I am also involved in frisbee training. I like going to the Frisbee training sessions the most. It is very nice to see how the teenagers develop. They benefit so much from this sport. They are much more sociable and handle conflict better because that is also one of the pillars of Frisbee; learn to communicate and consult because there is no referee who determines when the frisbee is offside. I also recently participated in the training to become a coach and that is also my goal.
My name is Hadia. I live with my parents and brother and sisters next to the center. I clean the center daily, but actually do much more. I also help during the lessons and supervise the children in the playground. In the beginning I was really very shy and reserved. But now I also see that I have changed a lot. Before the center was here, I wasn’t really alive. I was mostly at home because I never went to school and in the summers I sometimes worked in the fields.
Now I have become much happier and more accessible. I enjoy hanging out with the kids and playing with them and helping them with crafts. The children, in turn, like to be near me. I never went to school, but now that I work in this children’s center, I always like to listen to all the lessons and try to absorb as much as possible. I also follow the Arabic lessons together with the other women. I think I try even harder than the rest. If I had mastered Arabic better, I might be able to become a kindergarten teacher.
This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)