Rebuilding Farms and Homes in Iraq

23rd February 2022

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Samaritan’s Purse is helping Yazidis rebuild after ISIS destruction.

Persecuted Yazidi families are finally rebuilding their beloved homeland of Sinjar. After years of being displaced by ISIS, they are coming back to what is left of their once-thriving homes and farmland and trying to restore their lives. Samaritan’s Purse is helping them navigate this important transition by repairing their houses and providing training and assistance in agroforestry.

Samaritan’s Purse provided Firas with fencing to help protect his yield from animals.

Samaritan’s Purse provided Firas with fencing to help protect his yield from animals.

Firas*, 35, is one of more than 50 farmers we have helped so far. When ISIS swept through Sinjar in 2014, they wreaked havoc on the land that had been in Firas’ family for more than four generations. They destroyed his artesian well and also his long-established crops of fig and pomegranate trees and grapevines, and to make matters worse, stole his generator and all of his farm machinery. Devastated and with their very lives threatened, they managed to escape to Syria and eventually back to Iraq, to Kurdistan where they were able to live in a shelter.

“These were very difficult days because of the living and psychological conditions, and we only depended on humanitarian aid,” Firas said.

But Firas and his family of seven had the courage to return home to Sinjar in 2016.

“When I returned to my village, I felt joy and dignity,” Firas said, despite the difficulties he faced of eking out a living in a war-torn land.

Producing More Than in the Past

Samaritan’s Purse recently assisted Firas with training regarding his crops and their rotation, as well as by providing fencing and irrigation for his seven-plus acres. Now, his fields are thriving with wheat, barley, lentils, chickpeas, onions, carrots, and olive trees. He is grateful for all the help he received.

A Samaritan’s Purse staff member inspects the irrigation system we installed in Firas’ fields.

A Samaritan’s Purse staff member inspects the irrigation system we installed in Firas’ fields.

“I learned how to plant among trees and gained experiences from the Samaritan’s Purse team including how to treat fungal plant diseases, bacteria, viruses, and spiders, as well as irrigation and fertilisation methods,” Firas said.

And thanks to the fencing Samaritan’s Purse provided, he is able to produce more vegetables than he has in the past.

“The fence is very useful for my farm, protecting it from animals,” he said.

These days Firas beams with joy as he takes pride in his work. “I feel happy now when I work on my farm and earn a monthly income for my family from it,” he said.

He is grateful for the support Samaritan’s Purse provided that helped make this possible for him.

“I thank everyone who donated and helped our people in Sinjar,” he said. “My life changed dramatically after Samaritan’s Purse helped us with this agricultural project. The work gave us peace of mind.”

Making Home Sweet Again

While assisting Firas with his livelihood, Samaritan’s Purse also helped his brother, Amar,* rebuild his home.

When he returned to Sinjar, Amar found a pile of rubble where his home once stood.

When he returned to Sinjar, Amar found a pile of rubble where his home once stood.

Amar, 29, and his family of five were devastated in August 2014, when ISIS killed five of their neighbours and forced them to flee fearing they would be next.

“It is unfortunate that you have to leave your house and everything you own and run away,” he said.

Like Firas, he fled to Syria and then Kurdistan for safety. He returned to Sinjar in 2019 to find the remnants of what he’d left behind.

“My house was without a roof and I did not have a kitchen or bathroom,” Amar said. He lived with Firas for a year and a half before receiving help from Samaritan’s Purse to repair his roof.

“It’s a very happy feeling compared to before, because thanks to Samaritan’s Purse I was able to build my house,” Amar said. “I thank Samaritan’s Purse and everyone who raised [even] one dollar for needy people like me.”

Amar’s house is one of almost 1,300 Samaritan’s Purse has rebuilt in Sinjar—and one of more than 2,600 in Iraq as a whole—for those persecuted by ISIS.

Please pray as we continue to help Yazidis return to their homeland and rebuild their lives.

Amar said, “I want to tell you that there are [still] many destroyed homes in need of support.”

Amar proudly stands in front of his home that Samaritan’s Purse rebuilt.

Amar proudly stands in front of his home that Samaritan’s Purse rebuilt.

*Name changed for security

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