Over the past few weeks some students at Sidcot have been meeting up with their counterparts in a United Nations refugee camp in the north of Iraq. These meetings have been taking place once a week in the Art room over a Skype link.
There are two camps, each with a population of around 50 thousand people, who are Yazdi, an ancient Kurdish people who have lived in Northern Iraq for many thousands of years, and are now the victims of ‘ethinc cleansing’ perpetrated by the extremist Muslim group Daesh.
The Yazidi had to leave very suddenly in 2014, taking almost nothing with them, fleeing initially into the mountains, where they suffered extreme deprivation, prompting a rescue mission that led to the creation of the camps. There are very limited resources in these camps, but a UK charity called Amar is providing rudimentary healthcare and educational facilities.
The students that we have connected with are very keen to practise their English, and our students have been very keen to learn what life is like for them. One of our senior students, Al, who is from Lybia, was talking last week for well over an hour, to a student who is very keen to come to Europe or North America to study to become a surgeon. Much of this conversation was in Arabic! They are now also friends on Facebook.
We are hoping that this connection will continue and grow, and the founder of the Amar Foundation, Baroness Emma Nicholson, will be giving a speech at our Festival of Peace on Sunday 19 June.
Attached are photographs of some of the Yazidi students, and photographs of the Skype conversations taking place.
Head of Creative Art