"Our village is empty."
Antsar, pictured here with her husband Said and family, found safety at the Mangesh church compound in northern Iraq just over one year ago. They live there with 44 other families, all from the area around Mosul. All the Christians evacuated that region quickly when they heard ISIS was coming. Antsar says no one stayed in their village, but they assumed in only a few days ISIS would be pushed back and they could return.
“We thought we would be gone only one day or two. We didn’t even bring clothes for the children. I thought it would be a few days before returning back. We didn’t know.”
Your support and funding from the Canadian government made it possible for us to take on a $1.8 million relief project to support displaced Iraqis. Together, we supplied water and sanitation-related repairs to run-down shelters, essential non-food items like heaters and hygiene kits to families forced to leave everything behind, and other housing support in northern Iraq.
For example, with our local partner Lutheran World Federation-Iraq, we built community kitchens, latrines and provided harsh weather-related relief supplies such as air fans, hygiene kits and mosquito repellents to make living conditions more bearable for the 45 families living in the Mangesh church compound in Dohuk.
Someone has posted pictures of Antsar's village online that shows many houses burnt by ISIS-occupying forces. They could see that the cross was pulled down off the local church. They recognized their home in the pictures, burned.
“Of course we hope to go back, but we don’t know when it will become safe."
Her family used to have three incomes. Antsar worked in a hair salon and her husband and oldest son were day labourers. Because of ISIS, now they have nothing and completely rely on charity.
“We do nothing all day. We just sit. There we had our jobs. Here we just sit and wait and talk."
Photo by CLWR/H.Patterson