Supporting returning families in Northern Iraq
Jesuit Missions has been supporting people in Iraq for several years in partnership with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS).
JRS has been present in Qaraqosh Northern Iraq since December 2016. The town had recently been taken from ISIS control and it was in ruins. A few years later, people who fled ISIS in the mid-2010s face multiple problems as they return home to a turbulent political and social situation. Lack of security, the presence of multiple armed groups, as well as lack of shelter, employment, healthcare, and services are among the main obstacles to returning. According to the Iraq Humanitarian Needs Overview, at the end of 2019, 4.1 million out of the 6 million people displaced during the 2014-2017 conflict against ISIS in Iraq still require some form of humanitarian assistance.
However, thanks to work by our partners like JRS, there are encouraging signs of life and recovery. JRS helps returnees of all backgrounds to rebuild their lives through programmes which benefit the most vulnerable families, women, and children. In 2019, JRS supported 657 returnee and internally displaced families through community outreach. JRS provides a wide variety of support to the community including formal and non-formal education for children and adults, psychosocial support, medical assistance, food baskets, and multipurpose cash assistance. A key feature of JRS’ work is female empowerment programmes which offer women opportunities in income-generation, adult education, and awareness-raising sessions. In 2019, over 1000 people in Qaraqosh took part in these women’s programmes.
During the Covid-19 lockdown in Iraq, JRS have been providing medication, prevention information and educational resources to the people who are unable to attend their programmes due to lockdown.
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Picture credit: JRS