Farida e.V. is a global nonprofit organization initiated by Farida Khalaf an Iraqi survivor from enslavement. She co-founded FGO together with other genocide survivors, humanitarian workers, activists and volunteers. FGO has the vision to give a voice, assist and advocate for vulnerable people, minorities, and genocide victims.
Why was Farida Global Organization founded?
August 2014 Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attacked the whole Sinjar district (Ninawa Governorate, Iraq). The largest Yazidi community lives in Sinjar district, they have suffered from decades of discrimination and are one of the most vulnerable populations in Iraq. Yazidi practise an ancient religion. The ISIS considers the Yazidis ‘devil worshippers’ and specifically attacked this people group (Cetorelli, Sasson, & Burnham, 2017).
In the so-called ‘Sinjar massacre’ on the 3rd of August 2014, between 2,000-5,500 Yazidis were killed and more than 6,500 (mainly women) were kidnapped during this attack. Exact numbers are not known. Still today (July 2020) almost half of them are in captivity. The United Nations Human Rights Council has declared the ISIS has committed genocide and violated the international law (OHCHR, 2016). During the attack ten thousands of Yazidi fled up Mount Sinjar and were trapped without water, food or shelter in the heat of summer. Only after a few weeks the majority of the people were able to reach the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Many Yazidi fled across the border into the EU or other Western countries (Cetorelli, Sasson, & Burnham, 2017)
Female survivors of sexual slavery inflicted by ISIS experience depression, trauma, and distress. Young male survivors suffer from the effect of military training they had to attend (HRC, 2016). This has happened six years ago but is still a reality in the lives of many people.
The vision of FGO is to take action on what has happened back in August 2014. FGO aims to provide assistance and an institutionalized support framework for victims of conflict and religious persecution through raising awareness on the plight of refugees and advocating for their empowerment.
The history above describes the situation of the Yazidi minority in Sinjar (Northern Iraq). FGO is aware of other minorities facing similar difficulties and wants to step in for them as well. From now on FGO wants to set up interventions and create new possibilities on reaching those survivors and other war-crime victims.
Farida Khalaf (President)
Farida is a Human Rights Activist and co-author of “The Girl who beat ISIS”. Farida is one of more than 6500 Yazidi survivors of ISIS enslavement and genocide. She was born in the village of Kocho near Sinjar in northern Iraq. She was a high school student when ISIS attacked her village, killing men and taking women and children hostages. Farida lost her father and her older brother. She was taken into captivity with her mother and her other brothers. Her mother escaped 9 months later. Farida was held in captivity for four months, where she was subjected to unimaginable suffering including physical and mental abuse.
Since her escape, Farida has been an effective part of a global advocacy campaign to bring ISIS militants to justice, raise awareness and bring international attention to the Genocide. She has met with many world leaders including Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Wolfgang Schäuble, and a number of other European Presidents and EU parliament members. Farida has spoken in many high-level international events throughout Europe and around the world. Farida’s book, The Girls Who Beat ISIS, has been published and translated in more than 14 languages.
Farida is the winner of the Polish Foreign Minister’s Pro Dignitate Humana Prize 2017 and the 2017 Marsh Award for Peacemaking and Peacekeeping by Wilton Park, an executive agency of Foreign and Commonwealth Office-UK government and the LiberPress Award for 2017. Farida also received the 2020 Annual Human Rights Judith Lee Stronach Award. Farida also has a documentary film, With Words Against the IS – A Yazidi raises the voice. Farida has spoken with numerous international media including BBC, SWR, Reuters, DW, RT, CBC, and others.
Saeed Qasim Sulaiman (Executive Director)Saeed is a human rights activist and advocate for the protection of Yazidis, Christians and other minorities. Thanks to his involvement and hard work as a volunteer in the humanitarian sector from a very young age, Saeed was elected, at age 16, to the position of Youth Center Director in Kurdistan-Iraq. Saeed spent more than five years supporting refugees and IDPs, and in 2015, he established one of the first volunteer centers in Iraq. After moving to Germany in 2015, Saeed has dedicated his life to supporting Yazidi women and children who have survived ISIS captivity. This involves meeting with leaders and government officials from all over the world. Over the past few years, Saeed has volunteered his time to work with Mrs. Amal Clooney’s legal team. He supported the team during two cases against ISIS members for international crimes. These were the first of such cases anywhere in the world. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Duhok and an M.A. in Development and Governance from University of Duisburg-Essen.
He holds a BA. Degree in Political Science from the University of Duhok in. He is currently studying for an MA in Development and Governance at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
Astrid Komp (Board Member, Psychological/staff care advisor and NL representative)
When the crisis hit in 2014 Astrid had just graduated from nursing (Bsc) and child psychology (Msc); she was at work in South East Asia as a volunteer. September 2016 Astrid started working for an international humanitarian organization in Northern Iraq (Sinjar, Kirkuk, Mosul and Dohuk) to provide healthcare and psychosocial support to refugees and internally displaced people. Astrid specialized herself, while working in Iraq, with a master in International Humanitarian Psychosocial Interventions to be able to provide better quality and evidence based support. Astrid worked for over three years with different organizations in Northern Iraq as health/psychosocial manager, protection project manager and area manager. She managed to learn the basics of the local language and gained a great understanding of the culture and context of the country/history.
Astrid is touched by the stories of many people within Iraq and is deeply moved to support them in any way needed. Astrid was asked to join the board of Farida Global Organization and will advice the organization with her technical knowledge on psychosocial support, staff care and project management.
Khalid Qasim Salih (Global – Deputy Executive Director, Country Director – Iraq)
was living in Sinjar happily and having many friends around him. Khalid, holding a BSc. Engineering and humanitarian Leadership from American University in Beirut, was working in the Sinjar region. He is a humanitarian aid worker and a human rights defender for the vulnerable and poor families.
In 2014, he had to forcibly flee his home with his family and run into Kurdistan Regional of Iraq (KR-I) for safety and thus he survived from the Genocide happened against his community “Yazidis”. From the very first days of the displacement, Khalid started advocating and asking for help for his people, especially around 120,000 people that were trapped on the Sinjar Mount. He helped with air dropping to the people trapped on the Sinjar mountain in August, 2014.
While the crisis was getting more chronic and taking longer than anyone expected, Khalid started to be involved in more community centered activities. He joined and co-founded the voluntary center within the University of Duhok “Volunteers of Duhok University (VDU)”. Khalid, with proper and long training from IAHV, was able to be certified as a trainer and was assigned as a peace ambassador. Khalid trained hundreds of displaced people in displacement camps in Iraq to help the traumatized people to overcome the trauma and to relieve stress. Khalid, since 2014 is working as a humanitarian aid worker with MEDAIR (a Swiss international organization) to deliver assistance to the most vulnerable families across all Iraq.
Khairi Shabo Abdullah (Secretary / Vice president)
When the crisis hit Sinjar region in 2014, Khairi had recently graduated from the University of Zakho with a degree in English Language and Literature. After initially volunteering the humanitarian agencies to be part of the efforts providing lifesaving aids for the IDPs, Khairi then worked for Medair, a Swiss international humanitarian NGO which helped displaced people and ISIS victims in Iraq, for three years as a humanitarian worker.
After moving to Germany, Khairi has joined Yazda Global organization as one of the board members representing the organization in Germany to support Yazidi genocide survivors and advocate for Yazidis around the world by participating in international events. In terms of two and a half years, Khairi has dedicated himself to support Yazidi women, girls, and children who survived ISIS captivity by involved meetings, events over Europe. That included accompanying ISIS victims participating in international events as personal support and translator. Currently, he is doing a diploma in office management for a ships management company.
Sanaa Ali Alneamat (Women “Survivors” Affairs Director)
Sanna was a student at Mosul University, the first year in the Department of Geography, 2013-2014. She was abducted by ISIS on 15.08.2014in Kucho village with her family. After four months of unimaginable suffering in captivity, Sanna was able to escape from ISIS. After she was freed in 2015, Sanna came to Germany through a program for female survivors organized by the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg. Between 2016 and 2017 Sanna participated in four times conferences at the United Nations in Geneva. She was also part of a Yezidi delegation from Iraq to the German Parliament in Berlin for a week in 2016.
Integration into German society and German language were also among Sanna’s priorities. She studied the German language by participating in courses and worked as a volunteer accompanying other Yazidi women and girls in German institutions and helped them with translation. Currently, she is working as an interpreter supporting other refugees in Germany.
Jamal Yazdin Kheder (Operations Director)
In 2008, after graduating from high school, Jamal had to flee Iraq, as Yazidi students were severely persecuted during this period. When he came to Germany 10 years ago, Jamal had to repeat his degrees because his previous degrees in Iraq were not recognized here in Germany. After an apprenticeship as a social worker and nursing assistant, Jamal accomplished his high school diploma and studied social work in Munich. He is currently studying for an MA in “Applied Science of Social Work in Communities, Networks and Organizations” at the Catholic University of Applied Sciences in Munich. After just a few years in Germany, Jamal volunteered in several social areas, such as youth group leader at the Yazidis academy Bavaria, refugee helper, leisure time organizer for senior citizens.
Brilliant Edudzi Dziko (Strategic & Development Director)
Brilliant is an International Development Policy Analyst who began his career as an Advocacy Volunteer with Curious Minds Ghana and then served as the National Coordinator for the African Youth and Adolescents Network on Population and Development (AfriYAN Ghana) with UNFPA affiliation.
He holds a BA. Degree in Political Studies and Economics from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has worked as Programmes Assistant with the Democratic Governance and Peacebuilding Unit of UNDP in Ghana. Brilliant has also served in the UNMGCY led organizing committee for the United Nations Economic and Social Council Youth Forum at the UN Headquarters in New York and other Intenational High Level events.
Currently, Brilliant doubles as a scholar in MA. Development & Governance in DAAD Helmut Schmidt Programme, Universität Duisburg-Essen and an Assistant SDG`s Policy Research Consultant with the German Development Institute in Bonn, Germany. Brilliant believes that the story of ISIS persecution of the Yazidi community in Iraq must be viewed from a global lens and is pleased to join the strategy unit and support team Farida Global Organization with his expertise.