“ […] I noticed that our area is considered as a disputed area and it needs educated and peaceful people to stand up again after all happened to it,” says Masoud. After years of displacement, he returned to Sinjar and was encouraged by friends to enrol in the Peace Leader programme.

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I had a very simple life before 2014 and I was very satisfied and happy with it, my family were farmers and were growing vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers to get by or help us to finish our school because the poverty was the main issue that all Yezidi people have faced all the time.  Like all people, on 3rd August 2014, my family headed to the Sinjar Mountain to be protected from ISIS. […] We stayed on the mountain for about ten days, then we displaced to Kurdistan [northern Iraq]. The life was so difficult at first because there was no shelters and food. People were sleeping on the roads and streets. I vividly remember, my little brother was crying from hunger, but step by step the situation got better and we stayed in an abandoned house in Sharyia, it is a village in Dohuk Governorate. And we stayed there for about two years then we returned back to Sinuni again in 2016 and so far we live here.


I started school in 2002, and I was one of the excellent students in the class.  My family did their best and worked hard to support me and my other siblings throughout our education journey.  In 2013 I finished high school and I have been accepted in Nursing department in Telafer [University]. […] After displacement and in 2016 I was accepted in Duhok university and finished nursing there.


I participated in this [Peace Leader] programme because I believe it is an interesting and helpful course to enhance and improve our skills in many fields.  First, I noticed that our area is considered as a disputed area and it needs educated and peaceful people to stand up again after all happened to it.  So, I found this course will make me a wise person and help me to find more job opportunities. Also, it will be a factor to care more about peace and give other people more respect and accept differences. Before I start in this programme I was working in an NGO and also I have been hired by the Ministry of Health.


So far so good and I really liked the course materials and especially in-class meetings because we talk about our community. My colleagues and I are trying to apply examples and their difficulties on the table. […] I enjoy [the] creating a culture of peace part and I really cared about it and studied a lot about it because I know it is something that concerned my community.


Since I have been studying this course, I have been changed to another person because it is [an] effective course and things that we took are tangible and practical.  Especially in-class meeting activities, videos and audios [which] are available in the course.  It is up to us to decide how much we are going to get benefits from it because all is about commitments and taking about it. Also, I have learnt so much from my colleagues and onsite facilitator and I have got good behaviour and attitudes, or how to deal with difficult people and solve simple problems and look at problems from different angles. I am sure this course will help me a lot in the future […]. I will be a positive person and have the peace of mind and deal with circumstances easily and rationally.


Many of my friends have benefited from this course and they drove me and encouraged me to take part in this programme. This programme has changed the life of many youths in our community and made us to be different people and look at life from different perspectives.


We as Yezidi community, have been through a lot of difficult situations and trauma. The majority of our people are living in difficult situations. We need all kinds of help and support in order to build our villages like before and even better. We need more courses and education because the process of education is very bad in Iraq, especially in Sinjar.  So, we need more courses and support of organisations to help our people be wiser and get different skills to be free and find work and opportunities.


I hope all the people live in peace and harmony without problems and conflicts. I hope my country – Iraq – becomes flourished again and we live like other people freely in our country.  I hope all people respect each other and people don’t judge each other by the colour of skin, gender or religion. We are all human and we need each other to complete one another.