Voices of Iraq: From Victim, to Survivor, to Thriver

Peace Building

From September 21st to 23rd, FRRME staff attended an event hosted by The Centre of Global Migration (CGM) entitled “Untold Experiences of Vulnerable Refugees”. Presented as a workshop to discuss the severe consequences of forced migration, the event brought together researchers, practitioners and policy makers to form a much needed international network for up to date discussion of the mainly ignored experiences of minority refugee populations.

Researchers included Fiona from our FRRME Team, who presented the real day to day challenges of the Iraqi Christian refugees we care for in Jordan, through Case Studies such as “Afnan’s Story”. Families have been uprooted from their culture, jobs, schools and homes to an uncertain future, awaiting responses to their asylum applications to live in Australia and Canada, for which paperwork takes months, and sometime years to process. In the meantime, skilled professionals and former business owners are not permitted to obtain work permits, and forced to rely on the generosity of the churches and partner Christian Charities, such as FRRME.

Fellow researchers at the CGM event, hosted by the University of Gothenburg, included representatives of the Mandaean and Yezidi minorities. The latter population are now experiencing their 74th Firman (or atrocity/genocide). In the words of Research Psychologist Dr Jan Ilhan Kizilhan “How can people deal with trauma; with such shame?”

It is dealing with this shame and trauma which FRRME seeks to address amongst the Iraqi Christian Refugees we assist. Whether it is the moment the ‘victim’ or refugee arrives in Jordan with barely any belongings, to processing the horror of losing their former lives, and their adoption into a new community of survivors. This recovery from trauma includes receiving relief assistance and pastoral support, to learning English at the Nazarene and Assembly of God Churches where Helena teaches (FRRME Project Officer), through to attendance at workshops which deal with the effects of domestic violence.

“Everything you have ever wanted is on the other side of fear” George Addair

But more than this, FRRME is committed to the Christian Iraqi minorities thriving. This is through the effects of political lobbying for the return of Christians to Iraq, the practical day to day encouragement of the refugees and IDPs in our care, to future potential training and business opportunities. We are enabling the Voices of Iraq to be heard, made possible by your support.

To read more on this informative conference, click HERE 

 From Victim, to Survivor, to Thriver

An art exhibition and documentary, as well as for the publication by the Centre on Global Migration, University of Goethenburg will follow in 2018. 
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Insights from Sarah Ahmed, Director of Operations
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