Supporting a program for cohabitation focused on children (Kirkuk)

Program background

JVC has supported an Iraqi hospital since 2002 and it has supported the local NGO, INSAN, which works to foster reconciliation among ethnic groups in Kirkuk, since 2009. Many groups have long lived in Kirkuk, including the Kurds, Arabs and others, but historical factors dating from the Saddam Hussein regime onward have caused antagonism between them to be severe.

In addition to these circumstances, many people have also fled to Kirkuk since June 2014 due to fighting with the extremist group, “Islamic State” (IS).

 

A psychologist examines the need for mental care for the participants of the workshop

After June 2014, about 500,000 Internally Displaced Persons(IDPs) have surged into Kirkuk where JVC operates. Along with the influx of IDPs, prices including rent and travel expenses have suddenly risen while wages and access to medicine and basic goods has declined. For these reasons, it is quite common that some among the local community feel hostility toward the IDPs.

Moreover,because of a strong feeling of caution towards combatants who infiltrated the city by pretending to be refgees,the tension between IDPs and locals continues to increase.

         

Participants received Origami with short messages from Japan

Focusing on children from the refugee and local populations,JVC and INSAN hope to plant seeds of tolerance and teach conflict resolution techniques through the use of art and theater to ease-tensions. Social workers and experts in psychology-provided treatments for children who were psychologically harmed by the conflict another.

         

In September 2015, we invited Ali Jabari, the head of INSAN, a group which carries out a steady activity aiming at “Peace without military force”, to Japan to conduct an information exchange about specific cases and tasks. During the activity report meetings in Tokyo and Toyama, he emphasized the necessity to inspire efforts for cohabitation between IDPs and locals.

Children, the psychologist, and staff members of INSAN after the workshop

(source: “JVC Annual Report – 2015 report”)

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