These Christians Are Helping Iraqi Refugees Escaping ISIS

These Christians Are Helping Iraqi Refugees Escaping ISIS

These Christians Are Helping Iraqi Refugees Escaping ISIS
By Mstyslav Chernov (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The Refuge Initiative is building micro-camps, restoring hope and dignity to displaced Iraqis.

The Refuge Initiative, a Christian organization, has pioneered a model of housing refugees. Displaced Iraqis live in a village style and refugee administrated micro camps at Soran in North East Kurdistan. The place is only 150 kilometers away from Mosul, a stronghold of ISIS.

These Christians Are Helping Iraqi Refugees Escaping ISIS[/tweetthis]

Billy Ray co-founded the Refugee Initiative. He is from Florida along with Dawn, his wife and their three young sons from 2008. Ray has previously worked on a number of areas and they moved to their present address only in 2008. Soran is a Kurdish town about 20 miles distant from the Iranian and Turkish borders. They are regarded as the pioneer western family to settle in the region.

The Refugee Initiative, other than building refugee camps, claims to restore hope and dignity. They also offer a number of solutions to people escaping persecution. According to the organization, camps can be easily constructed but constructing a refuge is another. The organization develops micro-camps. They are done by partnering with refugees themselves, keeping the latter's needs first. The refugees have the benefit of autonomy. All these results in the formation of genuine communities.

The micro-camps are intentionally kept small. Each camp has a population of 100 to 250 individuals. The social structure of a standard village is kept. This considerably minimizes the transition difficulties. The refugees also develop an excellent sense of community which is hard to bring about in the bigger camps. The Refuge Initiative also offers schooling for the children among the refugee population. It aims to make the displaced persons to go back to a path of stability and progress. The local businesses and government are roped in to make sure they get the correct vocational training. Employment is the key aim for the adults.

According to Ray, the mayor gave them an effusive welcome. Land was promptly given to them in Soran’s Freedom martyrs quarter. It was the place where families broken by the civil war spent their days. The Refugee Initiative was requested to work with the area’s war widows.

A community center, termed “The Refuge” was soon built. It offered vocational training and language classes. There was also an event hall. Playgrounds were prepared within the area. The intervening years saw members of The Refugee Initiative developing a bond with the local people and also the government. There are a total of five micro-camps providing refuge top about 700 Shabak and Yazidi refugees.


Follow the Conversation on Twitter