The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME) has helped turn a former British military base into a new home for internally displaced Iraqi Christians. Tents that were once used by the British Army at Camp Bastian in Afghanistan will now provide winter shelter for approximately 600 Iraqi men, women and children, many of whom were forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants.
It is estimated that approximately 200,000 Iraqi Christians fled their homes last summer, escaping to the relative safety of north east Iraq. However, the vast majority have no proper shelter, regular food, or access to medical care. FRRME’s team on the ground, led by Dr Sarah Ahmed, has been providing vital relief for many of these people. The new camp, which is near Semele in the Dohuk region of Iraq, has been named ‘Sawra Village’ (Sawra means ‘Hope’ in Assyrian) and will comprise of 26 heated tents, three diesel generators, washing machines, showers, toilets, and a tent which will be used as a church.
This extraordinary project has taken many months of hard work and is the result of a partnership between FRRME, Barnabas Fund and ACERO. The project cost £487,000, of which FRRME provided £150,000. However, while these people are now in relative safety and have accommodation, a harsh winter is approaching and the humanitarian needs are enormous.
Commenting on the project, FRRME’s President, Canon Andrew White, said:
“There is a misconception that persecuted minorities who have fled Islamic State to the relative safety of north east Iraq are happy, that there is a glittering new life waiting for them there. There isn’t. These people have nothing and so I am very pleased we have been able to repurpose the tents of Camp Bastian and turn them into Hope Village.”