10 Years of Trauma Treatment in Iraq

On 25 May, the Jiyan Foundation celebrated a decade of trauma treatment and human rights work in Iraq at the Cultural and Social Center of the Salahaddin University in Erbil, Kurdistan.

Salah Ahmad, President of the Jiyan Foundation, welcomed the 200 guests and members of staff before a short documentary about the work of the organisation was shown.

The German Consul for Political and Humanitarian Affairs, Mr Holger Tillmann, addressed the audience followed by a brief summary of our work by local director Yousif Abdulmuhsin Salih.

Two of our patients, a survivor of the chemical attacks in Halabja and a member of the Yazidi community, shared their experiences with the audience and helped to understand the importance of psychological care after trauma.

In the entrance hall we presented the exhibition of our event for refugee children at Arbat Camp, "Colouring your Dreams", and displayed some of the campaign posters we have produced over the past 10 years.

"It is with mixed emotions that we look back at our achievements", says Salah Ahmad, founder and president of the Jiyan Foundation. "On the one hand, we are proud to have treated more than 20,000 survivors of violence, to hear their positive feedback, and to witness how therapy changed their lives for the better. On the other hand, we are sad to see steadily rising patient numbers. Throughout the past ten years, violence has occurred in too many forms in Iraq. It has destroyed individuals, entire families and the social fabric of our society at large. Yet victims' distress can hardly be relieved as the Iraqi mental health services are still underdeveloped, lack qualified staff and facilities."

That is why the Jiyan Foundation continues to train local trauma therapists and mental health professionals and to offer psychological and medical treatment to those who suffered human rights abuses.

For more photos of the event, please click here.