Art therapy training for caretakers of the women of the Yazidi community

From 3 till 8 December 2016 two trainers of the Hijman Degen Foundation (Marlies Mannesse en Fiety Meijer) will provide 5 days of art therapy training for the caretakers of the EMMA ORGANIZATION in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. The 1th follow-up training is planned the end of January 2017.


In August 2014 militants of the Islamic State (IS) attacked the habitat of the Iraqi Yazidi minority. This attack caused many Yazidis to flee from their homes. Images of thousands of Yazidis, including children, women and elderly, who had sought refuge on Mount Sinjar shocked the world.

During the attack thousands of Yazidis were killed and thousands of girls and women kidnapped. The girls and young women were separated from older women. Younger women were often traded as slaves, given away as a gift or reward and in most cases systematically sexually abused. Mass graves are silent witnesses of the brutal faith of elderly women. Those who have managed to escape or have been freed are often severely traumatized. To make things worse, there is a big taboo on sexually abused women in the Yazidi community, and their return in this community is hampered due to lack of acceptance and exclusion.

The need for Art Therapy

For most people it is hard to talk about traumatic experiences. Through art therapy the girls and women learn to express their feelings in a different way and learn to cope with their experiences. Hijman Degen Foundation and her local partner EMMA ORGANIZATION want to ensure that this therapy becomes available for the benefit of the Yazidi women in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Please support this training, financially or in art materials.