• Safin’s Journey to Safety
    How children like Safin are rebuilding their resilience
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Working to provide emergency child protection, education and psychosocial support in conflict-affected regions

National context

Since the removal of President Saddam Hussein in 2003 Iraq has been beset by violence and instability. For the past four years Iraq has been the scene of a protracted crisis. Government forces and armed groups - mainly affiliated with Islamic State (IS) - have been engaged in brutal territorial battles.

With the support of the US-led coalition, the Iraqi military declared ‘victory’ over IS in late 2017 and regained control over areas occupied by the armed group. Yet this development has come at a significant humanitarian cost - some 3.6 million Iraqis are currently internally displaced. A further 3.2 million returnees are on the move inside the country’s borders.

Situation of children

In total more than seven million people inside Iraq are in need of humanitarian assistance - including some 5.1 million children. These children are exposed to a number of acute rights violations - including the threat of death, injury, sexual violence, abduction and forced recruitment by armed groups.

Children living in areas under IS control have experienced significant and distressing events - particularly incidents of physical and mental violence. Some children have been abducted and used as human shields and child soldiers. Girls are forced to confront gender-based violence. All of these children are in acute need of psychosocial support.

What We Do

War Child Holland supports the work of War Child UK to strengthen access to education inside Iraq. More than three million Iraqi children have seen their education disrupted - the majority of whom are displaying signs of conflict-related trauma.  Attacks on schools are commonplace - the past three years have seen some 150 attacks on educational facilities.

We also work to strengthen child protection structures. We work closely with families and communities, raising awareness of the particular needs and dangers for children. We reunite relatives where possible and help with income-generating activities.

Our Projects

Strengthening Child Protection Services in Northern Iraq 
Initiative in partnership with War Child UK to improve the wellbeing of displaced children living in refugee camps. The project saw psychosocial support and child protection activities conducted in five ‘child friendly spaces’ inside refugee camps.

Economic Empowerment of Conflict-Affected Youth
Initiative in partnership with War Child UK to provide vulnerable youth - inside both host communities and IDP camps - with economic opportunities.

Voices of Children

Safin's journey to safety