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  • Wahida is a searcher working with UNMAS Iraq implementing partner (GCS) to clear Ain Talawi from the explosive ordnance to help people return to their land and houses, Sinjar, October 2022. Photo: UNMAS

Wahida, a brave Yazidi woman, building a future for Iraq

In 2014, on a calamitous night in Ayn Taliai village in Sinjar district, a 12-year-old Wahida and her family were forced to flee the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), as they arrived in Sinjar. 

“We waited for the night to flee from our lovely home, and the darkness surrounded us. We could also see hundreds of other families, children and women running into the unknown future," Wahida recalls.

There is no fundamental obstacle preventing women from developing and having a role in achieving security and peace for her community.

Wahida and her family reached Sinjar mountain together with thousands of other Yazidis who cried over their loss of loved ones. After five long days full of hunger and thirst, they decided to go to one of the camps in Dohuk to settle there. It was a difficult decision for the family, but they were aware of the difficulties and dangers they would face if they stayed on the mountain. "Fleeing was the correct decision at that moment because hunger and thirst began to claim lives there on the mountain,” she explained.

Wahida and her family spent a long time in the camp where humanitarian assistance was the only source for survival. One day she heard about a job advertisement with one of UNMAS Iraq’s implementing partners, Global Clearance Solutions (GCS); and as a twenty-year-old proud Yezidi woman she applied and was accepted for a searcher position. 

Since October 2022, UNAMS Iraq and its implementing partner, GCS, have been working in Wahida's village to reduce the threat of explosive ordnance to people's lives.

Wahida is very proud to work in her village, as the clearance will allow people to return in the future. Now, Wahida, a brave young woman, represents the ideal example of a woman who has overcome psychological and social barriers. She continues to motivate her other team members to do their best to enable the displaced to return safely to their homes.