Haifa, a young woman from Mosul, was a university student when ISIS took over Mosul in summer 2014. Fearing for their lives, Haifa and her family fled, leaving everything behind. They suffered a difficult journey to safety in Kurdistan, before finding themselves on the street in Akre, a town in Duhok. They spent four months sleeping in a football stadium in the town, before being moved to Mamilyan Camp. Of all the hardships she has faced, one of the most upsetting consequences of displacement for Haifa was having to abandon her studies.

Soon after arriving in the camp, Haifa began working with children and youth but, unfortunately, funding for the project she was working on ended and she became unemployed. As the eldest sibling, and with parents suffering from chronic illnesses, Haifa had been the family’s sole breadwinner. Losing her job meant that her family had no source of income. As there are very few jobs available, this was a very stressful time.

After a few months, Haifa heard that SEED Foundation was looking for a women’s activities coordinator to work at our center in the camp. She joined our team in November 2015 and was initially responsible for running activities for women including baking, knitting and agriculture. Haifa excelled in her role and showed real leadership abilities, quickly becoming a great source of support for other staff and beneficiaries alike. As a result, Haifa was recently promoted to a senior role and she now oversees all activities within the SEED Center.

Haifa says, “I feel very comfortable in my work because everyone encourages me and thanks me for what I do. I’ve made many new friends and learned many new things. Most importantly, I love working with other women in need. I’m lucky to be have the opportunity to give back to my community every single day. I was even able to take some leave from my job to resume my studies. My future looks a lot brighter now.”