Our employees Aylin and Havend, who supervise the activities in our BACK TO LIFE centre on site in Iraq, told us that since March 18th an absolute curfew has been in force for the camp’s residents. According to official figures, 350 people have been infected with the corona virus throughout Iraq so far, and at least 29 have died. There is a great fear of the virus catching hold in our camp. This would not only have devastating consequences for individuals, but for the entire camp: There are no effective tests to prove an infection and there are almost no possibilities to isolate infected camp residents from healthy ones and to treat them medically.

Aylin, who works therapeutically with about 15 women in the camp, reports that the mood within the families is very irritable. The family members are all struggling in their own way with post-traumatic stress disorders, which are intensifying in the current situation. A number of women we work with face domestic violence, a serious issue which is being compounded by the crisis and having to stay inside.  Prior to the Corona crisis, the women had expressed the wish in the psychosocial support sessions that their husbands should take part. The involved participants were prepared to transfer the one-on-one talks into a family therapy form in order to work on the traumas in a different way and also to allow the men to benefit from Aylin’s expertise.

Havend reports that the younger camp residents have benefited greatly from the workshops and schools in the camp. Young men who had worked on farms before their life in the camp, even so much so that some of them started studying in the nearby town.

We hope that the situation will soon return to normal so that the people in the camp can resume their way back into a self-determined life!