Ending Plastic Bag use in Halabja

On February 6, 2019, we held a press conference announcing to local media our push to end the use of plastic bags, by encouraging the local community to switch to reusable cotton bags as part of our “Green City Halabja” Campaign.  The negative environmental effects of single use plastic bags, which are a common sight littering the streets, were highlighted and explained.  Hundreds of reusable cotton bags printed with the campaign’s logo, will be distributed to the local community for free.

Nuxsha Nassih the Mayor of Halabja, and Kwestan Akrm head of the Municipality of Halabja attended the press conference to show their intention to be part of the campaign, this project is supported by Wadi and currently in need of funding. If you would like to support this project please donate here.

The ‘Green City Halabja’ campaign is a response to the urgency that climate change is having on the environment in Halabja.  Working together to create public parks and green spaces, recycling, planting flowers and trees, the campaign hopes to have immediate positive effect on the community.  We hope that Halabja will become the first city in Iraq to be ‘plastic bag free’, and set an example for how small change can have a big impact.

Since 2012 NWE Organisation has focused on improving the environment and highlighting the area’s natural beauty and regional products. Halabja is a city that has suffered devastating human and environmental costs when it was bombed with chemical weapons by Saddam Hussein during his campaign against the Kurdish population in 1988. The death and injury toll is estimated to be between 3,200 and 5,000 and the violence and brutality of the chemical weapons has deeply scarred the community and the land, even now 30 years later.

The logo of the “Green City Halabja” campaign, tells it all, out of the shell of a chemical weapon, emerges a beautiful tree, a hopeful symbol of a better life coming out of a violent past.

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Halabja Summer of Peace and Non-Violence 2018

NWE Organization for Protecting Environment and Women’s Rights is launching the ‘Halabja Summer of Peace and Non-Violence 2018’ in cooperation with our partner organization Wadi. The project will provide classes for locals, Iraqi IDPs and Syrian refugees and is for women and children. The classes offered this summer are:

  • English,
  • Music including guitar and sitar
  • Art both painting and drawing

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This program continues the spirit of the ‘Halabja Summer of Peace’ campaign, which was launched by NWE organization in 2015 with the aim of promoting mutual living and coexistence between locals and Iraqi IDPs and Syrian refugees in Halabja. The refugee situation in Halabja is complicated. While the Syrian (mainly Kurdish) refugees fleeing the civil war are mostly welcomed warmly, the Arabs who have arrived from central Iraq are met with suspicion. Currently Kurdish nationalism is strong and years of suppression under the Arab nationalist regime of Saddam Hussein have not been forgotten. Especially here, in Halabja,where during the Anfal campaign in 1988, the Kurdish population was targeted by sarin and mustard gas attacks, between 3,200 and 5,000 were killed or otherwise sustained lifelong injuries and illnesses. This project works to change the way Kurds and Arabs relate to and engage with one another, fostering an environment where peaceful co-existance and mutual cooperation can thrive.

This year we have chosen to join Wadi’s ‘No to Violence’ campaign and include its aims of ending violence against children in schools and the home, in our summer programs. So in addition to the English, music and art classes offered they will also be holding seminars on children’s rights, children’s health, healthy environments for children and adults and general themes of human rights.

The project will also hold social activities such as picnics to bring people together.

This program will last from June-September 2018.

Combatting Violence Against Women

On November 26th and again on November 29th, we held seminars followed by an open discussion about combating violence against women. The seminar on November 29th was presented by Shokhan Ahmed from WOLA, as a part of series of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign in Halabja NWE Org office.

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The seminar and open discussion about violence against women, that took place on November 26th was presented by Niyaz Dlshad and Heshw Jamil, also as part of the series of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign in the Agricultural Technical College in Halabja.

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We are happy to share that the seminars were both very well attended.

The seminars were organized by NWE Org and supported by WADI.

Highlights from November

The month of November has been a busy time at NWE organization. Our different projects are progressing well. Here are some highlights we would like to share with you:

Recently on the 13th we held a graduation ceremony for 32 girls who finished the English Course program. The girls were from different backgrounds, local, refugee and IDP, they all received certificates of participation.

Our successful sewing course for local, refugee and IDP women continues, and new skills are learned every week. These skills give women the economic independence to provide for their families.

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We also held a health awareness seminar where 37 Yazidi women attended. The seminar was presented by Shadan Merza, a medical instructor . With the fast approaching winter the women we visited also requested winter clothes, shoes and coats for their children, rugs, heaters and oil to stay warm. If you would like to help, please donate here.

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We also visited Ashty Refugee Camp of Arbat where we held a women’s legal awareness seminar for women, increasing their awareness of their rights and how to obtain them.

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All of these activities were supported by Medica Mondial and Wadi. For more day to day updates about our work please follow us on Facebook.

Refugee for Refugee Radio Wins Raif Badawi Award

We are happy to share the news that the Refugee for Refugee Radio Team has been awarded the 2016 Raif Badawi prize for courageous journalists.

The award was named after the Saudi secular activist and blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes because of his blogging. The International Media Alliance (IMA) launched the prize jointly with his wife, Ensaf Haidar, to honour journalists ” that under high personal efforts trigger societal debates”.

The prize will be presented at the Frankfurt Book Fair on the 19th of October.

The radio team has chosen to use their new platform to campaign for Badawi’s freedom. They have also decided to dedicate the month of October to highlight issues of freedom of speech in their program.  Check back soon for more information, and to know what you can do to support this developing project.

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Halabja Condemns the Yazidi Genocide

On August 3rd 2016, NWE Organization along with other civil society organizations from Halabja Province (Capital of Peace) commemorated the second anniversary of the Yazidis Genocide. We also came together to condemn the brutal act that took place on this date two years ago,  and show empathy and solidarity with Yazidis throughout the world. A good number of women from diverse ethnic backgrounds, languages and religions (Muslim, Yazidi, and Kakais) along with IDPs from Falluja and refugees from Kobani-Syria participated in the ceremony.  The local news and satellite channels were in attendance and reported on the ceremony.