Art of Living steps up relief work in Sinjar in Iraq

published on November 13, 2014

Bangalore: The International Association for Human Values, a sister concern of The Art of Living, along with few NGO’s in Iraq have collected 110 tonnes of food supplies to be delivered to Yazidi refugees on Sinjar mountains. So far the volunteers of the organization have air lifted One and a half ton of relief material to be distributed in the relief camps. The Art of living Founder , Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had earlier called on Governments of Europe, America and India to save the thousands of Yazidis trapped in the Sinjar Mountains In Iraq.

“America has heeded to our call of help and yesterday they obliged with two helicopters to airlift One and a half tonnes of food grains. We still have several tonnes of food grains waiting to be lifted to the people trapped in the Sinjar mountains,” said the spiritual leader.

Sri Sri will be visiting the relief camps where IAHV will also hold a conference in the Kurdish capital of Erbil on November 20th titled “Protecting Women and Bringing Stability and Peace”. Thousands of Christians, Yazidis and Kurdish Shias are languishing in camps in Erbil, Duhok and Khazir.

Appealing for generous contribution, Mawahib Shaibani, Program Director, IAHV, for Iraq said, “Currently, people in the relief camps lack basic items for survival, such as food, clothing and hygienic kits. They are in a very poor psychological state. We have proposed establishment of an integrated educational program in the province to help the Yazidis students at the Camp and outside it, therefore we need stationery for the students. We have also proposed setting up of toilets and bathrooms. We also plan to provide basic foodstuff to the Camp periodically.” 

Since the early stages of the ISIS insurgence in Iraq, over 1.5 million Iraqis have been internally displaced or forced to flee across borders for their safety. The Art of Living and International Association For Human Values of The Art of Living has been working to bring relief to refugees and internally displaced people (IDP).

From its base in Erbil, the team has brought relief in the form of food, water and hygiene products to 5 different camps, each camp sheltering 550 Iraqi families. IAHV has reached more than 2,000 families.

Since September 2003, around 10,000 people from Iraq have found relief from the stress-elimination breathing techniques.    Adding momentum to the initiatives, and with an aim of healing the wounds of war, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar visited Iraq from May 21 to May 24, 2007 with his message of peace and non-violence.

It was for the first time that an Indian spiritual leader was officially invited by the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.    Sri Sri signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Youth Ministry under which The Art of Living offered special leadership programs for Iraqi youth.  

Along with Sayed Abdallah Al Musawi, a leading Iraqi religious leader, he distributed certificates to women who have completed training in tailoring skills at the Art of Living’s Women Empowerment Center in Baghdad. The center has been empowering hundreds of Iraqi women providing them financial independence through vocational training.  

Despite volatile conditions, Sri Sri visited the country for the second time in less than two years, reaffirming his commitment to rebuild Iraq and galvanize people to work towards a stress-free and violence-free Iraq.

55 Iraqi youth were sent by the government of Iraq for a month-long training conducted by the Art of Living Foundation from August to September 2007. 699 women survivors of violence in Baghdad and 240 in Kurdistan received training to relieve stress and trauma and skills to cope with life’s challenges under the Al Azhar Program. 224 women have received vocational training in tailoring and 117 in computers. 33 women have been trained by IAHV and USAID on applying for jobs through Foras and to find placement with 400 private companies.

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