A United Vision for Northern Iraq
Our work to help Christians in the Kurdistan region of Iraq commenced within weeks of the fall of Mosul to Daesh (Islamic State) in June 2014. The flood of refugees into this region was almost without precedent and UNHCR camps were quickly erected to try and cope with the influx of humanity. While, these camps became the new home for the Yazidi people group, Shia Muslims and a small number of Christians, our distinct call was to assist the large Christian refugee community which had sought shelter across a number of Christian villages in and around Dohuk.
Working with trusted in-country partners, we commenced our relief effort sending funds to provide food, clothing, shelter, medicines and fuel. This developed into meeting a pressing need for shower and toilet units to help in the villages which were now bursting at the seams, and also the facilitation of medical clinics for the refugees, with volunteers from the UK and beyond working alongside local healthcare professionals.
Now looking to the future (or 'new normal'), we are seeking to provide sustainable incomes to Christians who are determined to stay. To this end we have launched our micro-finance initiative which is enabling suitable recipients to build a future free of dependency.
Helping Christians Stay in Northern Iraq
We believe that every effort should be made to maintain a Christian witness in Northern Iraq. For this reason we are now working together with a new coalition of inter-denomination/tradition Christian representatives and political leaders from western Kurdistan, as well as trusted western NGO’s, on an ambitious plan which, we hope and pray, will lead to a massive investment project to create a financial structure (credit union), homes and employment for the Christians who want to remain in this historically important area.
As a mission, we endorse the ambitious vision of Christian leaders in Northern Iraq which has as its end goal the simple desire to help Christian remain in Northern Iraq where they can bring glory to God and continue in the work of building his kingdom. The challenges facing the coalition are enormous, with some of the obstacles including:
- Christian refugees (and also Yazidi and Muslim refugees) being immersed in a sense of despair and hopelessness. They feel abandoned.
- Though many refugees are professionals and willing to work, there are few employment opportunities.
- The West is viewed as 'green grass' hence the desire of so many to risk their very lives to get there.
- Definitely 30%, and possibly as many as 50% of the remaining 200,000 Christians will stay in Iraq/Kurdistan if they are given adequate assistance.
Following a meeting of key Kurdish/Iraqi Church and political leaders during June 2016, the vision took a step forward with a plan now in development to:
- Actively work to support Christians over the longer term and strengthen the sense of family/community by,
- providing employment opportunities through foreign investment, micro-credit and any other feasible means.
- providing finance through the establishment of a Christian credit union
- providing low-cost permanent and desirable housing for refugees in safe and appropriate locations.
Our role in assisting the implementation of this plan:
- IS to exhaust our list of contacts to build and strengthen an international coalition of organizations to help.
- IS to inform government departments and professional individuals who can provide resources, advice and other forms of support to make this vision a reality.
- IS to ensure excellent accountability and reporting systems to satisfy all interested parties.
- IS NOT to seek 'pay-back' or ownership of this initiative as it is driven by the local Church.
The time-scale for this initiative:
- This project needs to move forward NOW.
- Ideally the coalition should be able to produce a detailed roll-out plan by the end of 2016/early 2017.
We invite you to join with us as we stand with Christians in the Middle-East.
Steadfast Global is a small-sized ministry and registered charity with low overheads. This means that we are able to commit 100% of funds which are expressly given for the relief work in Iraqi Kurdistan to the relief work in Iraqi Kudistan.
Our travel and administrative costs in relation to our work in this region are all met from our general fund so you can give confident in the knowledge that every penny is going to help those in most need.
If you represent an organization interested in partnering with the Kurdistan coalition, please contact us here.