Bakery opens after ISIS thanks to FRRME
Bakery opens after ISIS thanks to our Nineveh SEED project

Bread prices soar in Iraq

There is a new bakery in Bakhdida this week thanks to our funders. In just a few months the price of a loaf of bread in Iraq has gone up 50%. Inflation is one of the reasons the country for the mass civilian protests. The cost of living has spiralled out of control. Iraqis are angry at the lack of jobs and political corruption. Last week, a peaceful protest in Baghdad turned deadly when 100 protestors were killed and 6,000 more injured. The protestors are blaming the Iraqi army for this atrocity.

Against this backdrop, we have opened a bakery in the northern Iraqi town of Bakhdida (also known as Qaraqosh). The town is Christian and the residents are struggling to rebuild their shattered lives post-ISIS. The small shops and businesses which once thrived are in a state of dereliction and disrepair. We saw this for ourselves when we visited earlier this year. The security situation has improved considerably but there is desperate need of investment.

Working with partners FRRME created a new bakery
Working with partners we created a new bakery with a grant from Highway One Trust

Thanks to Highway One Trust

Thanks to a grant from Highway One Trust, we have transformed a derelict shop in Bakhdida into a bakery. The shop was abandoned after the ISIS invasion but is now producing delicious Samoon – traditional Iraqi flatbread. One of the benefits of locally produced food is that it doesn’t have to be trucked in. Some of the other towns in the Nineveh Plain still get their food from as far afield as Turkey. This is neither economically or environmentally sustainable.

Freshly baked Samoon bread - Bakhdida bakery funded by FRRME
Freshly baked Samoon bread – FRRME secured funding from Highway One Trust to fund this bakery

Bread and jobs bring hope to Bakhdida

The Samoon bread is as fresh as can be. They sell it in the local markets and shops of Bakhdida. One of the core objectives of this project is to create jobs. The bakery employs 8 staff in all, people who previously struggled to find work. Our Programme Manager in northern Iraq, Abdulrahman Mohammed, worked with a local charity called Friends of Youth Forum to deliver the project.

He had this to say: “ISIS burned churches in Bakhdida and defaced icons. The graffiti they sprayed on the walls said ‘Christianity is finished’. After they left, the town was in ruins. Today, we see another story emerging. There is hope. Small businesses are starting to open again and the people have jobs. We are very grateful to Highway One Trust for funding this project and to Friends of Youth Forum for delivering the project on time and to budget.”

According to recent news reports, 25,000 Christians have returned to Bakhdida since ISIS was defeated. However, most of these people will struggle to stay unless they have a way to earn a crust. We hope that our bakery will give others the courage to invest in the Nineveh Plain. Despite the recent troubles, it remains home to one of the oldest Christian communities in the world and they desperately need our help. Without it they will have no hope.

The toppled bell tower at The Church of the Immaculate Conception in Qaraqosh
The bell tower of this church in Qaraqosh (Bakhdida) was toppled by ISIS

Please help us plant the next seeds

We need your support now to bring more hope to the victims of ISIS. We have completed 5 employment projects under our Nineveh SEED programme including the bakery. Now we want to fund another 5 including beekeeping and honey production, an olive oil soap factory and a women’s employment project. We need several thousand pounds for each of these projects. Please support our work by making a donation via our donate page (there are numerous options for how to donate).