Nov 17, 2019 Last Updated 5:49 PM, Nov 13, 2019

A Healing Garden for Chamchamal

A Healing Garden for Chamchamal

The Jiyan Foundation is building a therapeutic garden for women and children in Chamchamal. The first of its kind, the healing garden will provide a safe space for women, children, and youth who have experienced domestic violence, abuse, and other human rights violations. Together with you, we can make a difference!

The Garden

Our garden will provide survivors and their families with a safe and unique space to heal. Garden therapy and group work will offer our clients new ways to overcome their ordeal. A petting zoo will help child survivors approach their fears and worries through animal-assisted treatment.

Reviving Traditional and Sustainable Architecture

All buildings on the property will be made out of sustainable materials such as clay, bricks, and wood combining the traditional Kurdish style with the expertise of modern clay architects. Present-day glass and concrete buildings are not sustainable in the area, but are becoming more popular as fewer people know how to build with clay. However, traditional buildings have superior insulation and keep houses naturally warmer in winter and cooler in summer. With today’s knowledge, clay can be made to last, reducing the environmental impact significantly. These buildings can be a role model for similar developments in the region.


Rejuvenating Traditional Artisanal Handicrafts

The seminar house will be a space where the Jiyan Foundation offers traditional Kurdish handicraft courses in sewing, knitting, pottery making, and carpet weaving to women survivors of violence. These artisanal abilities are quickly fading, as fewer people opt to learn these skills. The classes will help prevent these art forms from being lost, while also providing therapeutic benefits for our women clients.

Promoting Environmental Awareness

Our healing garden is the perfect place to start the much-needed conversations on climate change, renewable energy, and conservation in Chamchamal. We will have plenty of examples in our own garden ranging from: sustainable gardening, bee keeping, housing and heating. Our German partner BORDA funded and built a fermentation plant to produce energy from the waste materials produced by the plants, animals and guests of the garden. Local staff will be trained in maintenance and upkeep, spreading the knowledge needed to operate the machinery.

Another issue is preservation of water: Kurdistan has been experiencing severe shortages of rainfall over the past years. Groundwater levels are depleting. As the garden and its animals will need a lot of water, we are focused on keeping this resource safe. As luck would have it, a sewage canal runs underneath the garden that carries household greywater from the nearby houses. With our partners from BORDA, we are constructing a decentralised water treatment system that will clean 100 cubic metres of dirty water each day. Enough to provide the entire garden with clean water. 

Our partners

The healing garden project is being made possible with contributions from our partners Misereor, the Foundation Wings of Hope, and Ein Herz für Kinder as well as a private benefactor. With their help, we have raised over € 350,000 to build and maintain the garden’s core elements for the first three years. Another € 25,000 came from private donors. 

The Berlin-based firm Ziegert | Roswag | Seiler Architekten Ingenieure support the planning, design and construction of the clay buildings on the ground. Four Master's students created the garden's and building architecture as part of their thesis. They are being supported academically by Prof. Ralf Pasel, chair of the Faculty of Construction and Design (CODE) at the Institute of Architecture at TU Berlin, Prof. Bernd Rudolf, chair of the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, as well as Dipl.-Ing. Eike Roswag. The picture at the top of this article shows their finished design, which they presented on October 14, 2016. Locally, we are working with architectural engineer Kamaran Mustapha Mohammed.

Bremen Overseas Research & Development Association (BORDA), a German NGO, provides designs and specifications for a constructed wetland, which will clean waste water. A fermentation plant will be constructed and staff trained on its use and maintenance in order to turn the garden's waste products into clean energy.

How You Can Help

You can support the healing garden with your donation! Currently we are constructing a bakery and therapy rooms from clay. We wish to complement these with rooms for physiotherapy and a small theater stage. If you wish to receive a donation receipt, please leave your postal address in the payment reference or send it via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Learn more

If you would like further information or contact us for media enquiries, please send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Healing Garden Gallery

Follow the construction of the healing garden in this flickr gallery:

Healing Garden for Chamchamal
Wings of Hope
tu berlin
Autonome Provinz Bozen