A new project of the Jiyan Foundation is the construction of a therapeutic garden for women and children in the city of Chamchamal. The healing garden is a place of rest and security for women, children and their families who have experienced violence and persecution.
Three Generations of Trauma
The city of Chamchamal is located in the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq. The population suffered here especially under the brutal regime of Saddam Hussein. During the so-called Anfal operations of the 1980s, people were violently expelled and lost their livelihoods.
Children and adolescents in particular suffer from the long-term consequences of these attacks. Many parents are still emotionally and physically impaired by their experiences of violence. Some cannot work, others take out their anger and despair on their children. Neglect and domestic violence are common in many families.
Since 2010, the Jiyan Foundation has been the only point of contact for traumatized women and children in the region. Our psychological team treats more than 500 people every year.
Holistic Therapy in Nature
Our healing garden is located right next to the treatment center in Chamchamal. It unites a range of natural therapies unique in Iraq. Here, severely traumatized women and children have an opportunity to:
- Build relationships with animals, nurture them and thereby learn to trust again so as to open up to others (animal-assisted interventions)
- Create gardens, tend to plants and gain new hope and perspective through stewardship (garden therapy)
- Stay in a protected environment and recover
In the healing garden there are play areas for children and adolescents. Here they can let off steam and playfully release their creative powers. On sandy surfaces, they can build or destroy things and express themselves.
The women and children in the healing garden are accompanied by our specially trained therapeutic team.
Preserve Resources and Plan Sustainably
When designing the garden we take into account the conservation of natural resources.
The therapy rooms in the healing garden are built with clay. This traditional construction adapts perfectly to the local climate - it cools in the summer and warms in the winter therefore relieving us from the need of energy-intensive air conditioning systems.
Thanks to a treatment plant, we can purify 100 cubic meters of wastewater daily - enough to irrigate the plants even in the summer heat.
From garden waste, biogas is produced. Incidentally, this creates a natural fertilizer for the plants and trees of the garden.
In addition, we plan to build a solar energy system that will power the healing garden.