HERA Re-Opens School in Erbil for Children Escaping ISIS

HERA is financing and managing the operations of a Yazidi IDP school for 39 children.

HERA is re-opening a school in Erbil, Iraq for children escaping the ISIS conflict. The school is located in an internally-displaced persons (IDP) camp in the Kurdish city of Erbil. Situated under a half-completed and abandoned skyscraper, a reminder of better times, the school was previously managed by another NGO, but shut down when funding dried up. For the past year, the school has been operated by HERA volunteers. By formally re-opening the school, HERA is providing a dedicated set of teachers, curriculum, and classroom schedules.

The children are members of the Yazidi ethnic minority. The Yazidis have been persecuted under ISIS, with many international observers labeling the violence against them a genocide. The families of the children originally lived in Shingal, but fled due to ISIS violence. Many of the families lost children and parents to ISIS. 

“Our mission is to provide support on the front lines of extremist conflict,” says HERA Director Davey Gibian. “Educating the youth and providing a defined pathway towards economic empowerment helps prevent the extremism of tomorrow, today.” 

HERA’s school will provide classes to 39 Yazidi children, 4 days a week. These classes include primary and secondary education and English courses. Aside from HERA’s teaching staff, the US and UK veterans who make up a majority of HERA’s volunteer base will continue to devote time towards teaching the children. 

“Their eyes light up and they race towards them,” says Ammar Faily, a Kurdish citizen who runs HERA’s day-to-day operations in Iraq. “They have provided hope where none existed.”