Farida Global Organization (Farida e.V.) is a non-profit organization founded and managed by survivors of the Yazidi genocide and conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV), who have been advocating for the rights of survivors since their escape from ISIS captivity. Farida Global aims to give voice and support to survivors and their communities in a participatory, survivor-centric, culturally sensitive, and psychosocially informed manner.
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 Farida Global is to take action on what has happened back in August 2014. Farida Global aims to give voice and support to survivors and their communities in a participatory, survivor-centric, culturally sensitive, and psychosocially informed manner.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 (Co-Founder and President)
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.
Sanaa Ali Alneamat (Co-Founder, Board Member and Director For Women’s and Survivor’s Affairs) Sanaa was a student at Mosul University in the field of Geography when she was abducted by ISIS in Kocho. Today, Sanaa is a distinguished human and women’s rights activist, contributing to international, national, and local conferences throughout Europe, with a focus on survivors’ perspectives. She is currently working as an interpreter and is the Director for Women’s and Survivor’s Affairs at FG with a strong skillset in participatory and survivor-centric programming.
Intisar Oso (Co-Founder and Board Member) Intisar is a human and women’s rights activist known for her eminent work in advocating for safe and legal routes of entry to Europe. As a participant of Baden-Württemberg’s Special Quote Program and in the context of her personal and her family’s history, with one of her sisters rescued from ISIS just months ago, her work with FG particularly focuses on a new Special Quota Program to Germany for vulnerable survivors still living in Iraq and family reunification.
Miriam Weller (Communications Director) has an academic background in political sciences and international relations, with a focus on the fields of migration and climate change. She has professional experience working with international organizations and the European Parliament, focusing on the intersection of climate change and human mobility. At Farida Global, she is the project coordinator for the exhibition “The Women Who Beat ISIS” and responsible for the fields of communication and media.
Astrid komp (Co-Founder, Board Member, Psychological and Staff Care Advisor) 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 advise the organization with her technical knowledge on psychosocial support, staff care and project management.
Saeed Qasim Sulaiman (Co-Founder) 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.
Khalid Qasim Salih (Co- Founder and 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.
Khawla Ali (Deputy Country Director and Counselor at Farida Global Organization in Iraq) She is specializing in the Yazidi Survivor’s Law (YSL) since 2022. A passionate advocate for survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV), Khawla, a Yazidi survivor of enslavement by ISIS, has dedicated herself to defending human rights. In her role, she has successfully supported thousands of survivors, ensuring access to reparations and legal services. Khawla’s powerful mandate is to transition from the enslavement by a terrorist organization to championing human rights within a humanitarian organization. Her message is “From enslavement of a terrorist organization to defend human rights in a humanitarian organization”.
Brilliant Edudzi Dziko (Co-Founder and Strategic & Development Officer) 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 (African Ghana) with unfpa affiliation. He holds a B.A. 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 international 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.