Photo-journalism to empower Yazidi girls

On 2014 the Yazidi minority, who were mainly living in the Sinjar District in Iraqi Kurdistan, became victims of terrorists after the rise of the Islamic State and regional war in Iraq. Trapped in Sinjar as the militants advanced, hundreds of Yazidi men were executed and thousands of women and children enslaved.The Photography Techniques to Empower Yazidi Girls project was conducted in 2015 by Shayda HESSAMI for UNICEF. The project goal was to rehabilitate Yazidi girls who survived IS capture and who suffered severe physical and psychological trauma during their captivity. 

 

 

One of these girls in particular, Zina Hamu, became the ambassador of the Association AHJ and has obtained grants to pursue further studies in Journalism, in Lithuania and Canada. Zina was invited to the International Festival of Journalism in Italy in April 2018 to speak about women’s empowerment in the conflict zones. She was also invited by the American Government to take part in the 2018 edition of the Exchange US States programme and received the Emerging Young Leaders Award.

Currently, AHJ offers two young Yezidi photographers Barfi Bishar and Samia Jindo from Khanke camp (Kurdistan Region Iraq) a new beginning by learning the technics of journalism. This free and complete training course, gives them the knowledge and skills necessary to access the profession of journalist. For these young girls, journalism is a way to voice their own stories and actively take part in the rebuilding of their country.

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AHJ is an association registered under French law (1901), founded in France (2017) and registered in the Kurdistan region of Iraq since 2019. It allows the people in the conflict zones, especially women, to train in journalism and creativity to assert their rights to freedom of expression, information and education.