Teleskuf (meaning ‘Bishop’s Hill’ in Aramaic) is a Christian village in northern Iraq. The village was captured by ISIS in 2014 and 2016 but on both occasions the jihadis were driven out. The second battle made international headlines as a US Navy SEAL was killed helping friendly forces retreat to safety. Since ISIS’ defeat, the parish is returning to a state of normality, however there are no jobs and the security situation is precarious. In April we went to Teleskuf and filmed some of the St George’s Day festivities. It was an amazing experience (watch the video to see exclusive footage).
An ancient people need your help
One of the people we spoke to in Teleskuf was a local journalist called Loay Azabo. We interviewed him on the sports pitch in front of the massive ‘tel’ (hill) which overlooks the village. The tel has been there since the days of the Assyrian Empire. Last year, the first people to make their way back to the village erected a huge crucifix on top of the hill to symbolise their return. While more people have made the trip home, Mr Azabo told us about the enormous challenges facing the returnees:
“We hope there will be more attention on the village of Teleskuf because the thing that we lack is jobs which are still few. They [the townsfolk] returned and tried to restore life but there is a need for projects and things that brings life back. And the most important thing is to keep these people steadfast in their land and keep them proud of this hill and keep them proud of Teleskuf generally and make them proud of each other.”
Our plan of action
With your support, we have already helped the village to create a children’s play area. We also have ambitious plans for a business development programme to boost the local economy (see our update on this). It is vital Christian towns and villages in northern Iraq have sustainable enterprises if they are going to make the next big step towards full recovery. Sadly, international funding has been slow to reach places like Teleskuf and it is up to charities like us to step in and help.
It is no exaggeration to say that the people of Teleskuf and the Nineveh Plain urgently need your support. The land is currently in the grip of drought. The Tigris and the Euphrates are drying up. Temperatures have soared to an unbearable 45 degrees celsius. This drought has hit farmers particularly hard and little is being done to help them. One of the projects our Nineveh SEED programme will fund is deep water wells and linked irrigation systems for villages like Teleskuf.
To support our Nineveh SEED programme, please see the giving options below.
Making a donation
To support our Nineveh SEED programme or any of our other projects, please visit the donate page on our website (there are numerous options for how to donate) or send us a cheque made out to ‘FRRME’ to: FRRME, PO Box 229, Petersfield, Hants, GU32 9DL, United Kingdom.
Thank you for your support, it makes all the difference!