The AMAR Foundation is a British based charity, who since 1991 have been working with displaced people across Iraq. Since 2014, the AMAR Foundation have been providing vital mental health treatment for the hundreds of Yazidi women, who have escaped from ISIS captivity.
The majority have been raped, beaten and tortured and are now struggling to cope. AMAR have brought in expert professionals, to further train Iraqi doctors and nurses in mental health practice, and clinics are now running in seven IDP camps across the Kurdistan Region of Northern Iraq.
AMAR have trained community-based workers, who promote gender equality, women’s rights and have a clear understanding of mental health issues. They also provide additional information on gender-based violence and local mental health support networks.
The success of the programme – called Escaping Darkness – has meant AMAR has found the need to expand its services across Iraq. New centres are to be opened across Iraq, with further facilities providing mental health care opening this year, in Kurdistan, Baghdad, Babil and Najaf.
In addition to these centres, Escaping Darkness will include new children’s activity clubs in Dohuk, Baghdad, Najaf and Babil, to support Iraqi children who have been emotionally affected by the current conflict.
Victims of ISIS violence of all faiths – Yazidi, Muslims and Christians – will be supported through Escaping Darkness and the most serious cases will be quickly referred on, for specialist psychiatric treatment.
Edward Watts, who supports Escaping Darkness and who directed the film ‘Escape from ISIS’, described to the AMAR Foundation the terrible damage caused by the terror organisation. “Experienced psychologists working in Iraq told me they have never witnessed trauma cases of such severity on such a scale…They urgently need more support.”