Food Distribution program (Directed by Fahmi Babaka and Dildar Kaka)
As soon as some sort of shelter was provided for the IDPs who were staying in churches and unfinished buildings. The Archdiocese established a food Assistance program that was greatly supported by Aid to the Church in Need and Knights of Columbus. The food packages were distributed on a monthly basis, including items such as cooking oil, rice, grains, meat, and vegetables. The cost of each food package was held steady at $60 per month per family. This program lasted for one year and a half, through which 150,000 food packages were distributed to the IDP families.
1 – Surviving the Emotional Trauma
The 2014 crisis had a big impact on the psychological well-being of the IDP families and their children specifically. As a way to overcome their psychological distress, young volunteers organized multiple activities for the IDP children which included dancing, sport games, singing competitions, and movie nights. The volunteers also arranged different talent shows based on various age ranges. In addition, several sewing workshops were held for IDP women.
Moreover, the volunteers organized multiple hymns and praying events for the IDPs led by choirs, giving them spiritual comfort during the times of crisis.
Many private and international donors were interested in supporting the psychological well-being of the IDP children, assisting them in providing toys and building playing areas.
The above-mentioned activities along with the support of private and international donors were the bases to the creation and establishment of the Center Self in Need.
2 – Center Self in Need (Directed by Fr. Douglas Bazi)
The hatred of ISIS scarred the IDPs, not just physically, but caused immense emotional trauma. The Archdiocese established care centers for traumatic stress, providing psychosocial counseling free of charge to thousands of IDPs, focusing especially on the needs of women and children.
The Center for Self in Need in Erbil was opened in September 2015 for IDPs who needed psychological help to process their traumatic experiences (including domestic violence brought on by men not able to provide for their families and children). In 2017, the Center started offering advanced psychological level courses.
One of the Center’s core activities was initiated in April 2016 and focused on offering help and support for children with special needs. This initiative worked with IDP children from the camps in Ankawa and other parts of Erbil.