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Iraqi Women Take a Simple, Life-Changing Step

“This is not an easy time. But today I feel that I am a productive woman in my community.”

“I feel grateful that I have been able to help and communicate with others in need.  I feel helping them is helping me to heal too.”

The words above were spoken by women who have been transformed, thanks to your support.

They are among the 20 women and children who have fled ISIS violence and are now living at the new safe house that MADRE and our on-the-ground partners at the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) have opened in Karbala.

What could prompt this new feeling of connection and healing? It’s simple—the chance to give to the community around them. They shared these words with us after OWFI helped them to prepare and distribute Kleijah, a traditional Iraqi pastry, to communities and mosques near the shelter.

The local community, touched by the gesture, invited the women and their children to participate in local Ramadan festivities. The women described the happiness they felt as a result of helping others. They talked about a renewed sense of place and comfort, despite the hardships they are facing.

This simple activity had a profound impact on the women’s relationship with their new community. Like many refugees around the world, these women may never return to their own homes. To find a new sense of home amidst so much turmoil is an important step toward healing.

Thank you for helping women and families find safe haven, protection from violence and a community of support! None of this amazing work would be possible with you.  

August 27, 2015  / Middle East / Iraq / Ending Gender Violence