"I want people to know my story so they understand what has happened and continues to happen to Yazidi survivors."
In 2014, Shireen, her husband, and their children were taken by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from their village near Sinjar and forced to move to Mosul where Shireen was made a servant in the house of an ISIS member. Her husband was separated from her and her children and taken to Syria. Later, Shireen was moved to Syria as well, but she never was able to find her husband.
In 2017, Shireen was separated from her children and moved back to Iraqi Kurdistan alone. Two years later, she was reunited with three of her children in Kobarto Camp, where she discovered one of her sons was injured during a recent battle. Shireen’s husband is still missing, and her two youngest daughters are still captured in Syria.
Shireen is not shy about sharing her troubles. By sharing her experience, she hopes it can help raise awareness about the atrocities inflicted on her community: “I want people to know my story, so they understand what has happened and continues to happen to Yazidi survivors,” she stated.
Despite her numerous challenges, Shireen continues to look forward to the future and finding ways to support her family. A business idea came to her when she realized that the Kobarto camp, which is home to 2,000 families, lacked a shop where people could easily purchase additional household items that are not usually distributed by humanitarian organizations, such as soap, food items, and stationary. To achieve her goal and start her own business, Shireen plans on attending USAID-supported business training sessions. In the long term, Shireen hopes one day to move her business back home to her village, but for now she is proud to be contributing to the wellbeing of her family and her community in Kobarto camp.
This story was made possible through USAID's funding to the Marla Ruzicka Iraqi War Victims Fund, which supports the recovery of innocent victims of war. To learn more about USAID and the Marla Fund, click here.