The Need: When ISIS attacked the Sinjar region of Iraq in August 2014, they trapped over 100,000 Yezidis on Mount Sinjar. Deprived of food and water many lost their lives. ISIS also took Yezidis women and girls and enslaved them, tortured them and sold many of the women and children in sex markets. Some they kept in Iraq while others they trafficked into neighboring Syria and sold them in sex markets there. Many of the men and boys were executed and mass graves have since been found in the area. These radical jihadists also stole livestock, raided homes and took whatever they could find. They ruined any ability to make a living.
Since that time the Yezidis have been forced to live in displacement camps in other parts of Iraq. ISIS has now been driven out of Sinjar, but many cannot return home without a means to support themselves. Losing your livelihood is a major barrier to re-establishing life and starting to feel safe again in order to overcome the trauma of what happened.
The Solution: We restore and restart businesses to transform the economic situation in these devastated towns and villages. Each business averages $3,500 - $5,000 in start-up funds (equipment, initial rent, etc.) and supports 1-5 families. With your help we can launch another 20 businesses, significantly impacting the lives and economy of the region.
Shai Fund is continuing to support the Yezidis in the Sinjar region through small businesses. Prospective business owners submit a business plan and we assess the plan and if approved, we confirm a budget.
This project gives returning minorities, who often are excluded from chances for economic advancement, the opportunity to work and earn a living—one of the most effective ways for them to rebuild their lives with dignity and purpose.
It assists religious minorities resettling in their liberated cities by funding small and medium sized businesses through specific grants in order to strengthen these beleaguered communities, to promote economic self-reliance and sustainability, and to rebuild their future in order to thrive in their homeland.
Shai Fund has previously completed over 30 businesses in northern Iraq, including bakery, autobody shop, aluminum & window fitting shop, blacksmith stores, mini-markets, a medical clinic, a honey bee farm, a sheep arm, restaurants, pathology labs, a mobile painting business, barber shops, a doctor’s clinic and many more. Thanks to the Aurora Fund for Awakening Humanity we have been able to complete another 17 businesses in 2020 and are now looking for funding for 2021.
Shai Fund has started to provide small business grants to Yezidis returning to the Sinjar Region to restore these livelihoods. From livestock and shepherding to mini-markets we provide them with the ability to start trading and making a living again.