Our trip to northern Iraq
Last week I was in northern Iraq with a small team. We went to towns and villages where ISIS had been. We went to listen. We wanted to hear from those who have suffered so much, but who are still there! We went to hear their stories of trauma, survival and hope.
Many thousands have fled Iraq as refugees. We however met the people who have returned to the villages in the Nineveh Plain. But let us be under no illusions; these people are brave to return, not knowing for sure whether ISIS or some other terror group might attack again.
Many have suffered serious trauma. Whilst there in April we visited the Trauma Healing Centre in Alqosh. They work with people of all ages but particularly the children. Many people here are in need of significant restoration in their lives. Often it seems that the inner needs are much greater than the outer needs. It brings to mind the wonderful words in Psalm 23: ‘He restoreth my soul’.
There is a lot of practical help which we can bring but ‘soul restoration’ is an apt description of what I would like us to achieve, with God’s grace. In the Trauma Centre I asked one of the staff what he believes is the most effective therapy. Without hesitation he said: “Art, especially dance.” We aim to develop an Art Therapy project called ‘Portraits of Iraq’ with specialist practitioners.
Sport is also highly effective in helping people who are facing emotionally challenging circumstances. I was privileged to visit our inspiring football project in the mainly Muslim Harsham refugee camp. This wonderful project brings joy to dozens of boys and channels their energy into great team relationships and FUN. There are two FRRME teams and we fund the football coach and pitch set-up. There’s a long waiting list to take part. The project was established through the great work of Sarah Ahmed.
Please make a donation and support our work
If you would like to support our work, 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.