One would never imagine that such a place as The Hope Centre could exist in a war zone, much less inside the confines of a 20,000 person Yezidi refugee camp.
Walking across the threshold of our blue gates, one steps into a world of hope. Seven years ago we would have found it hard to define “ Hope “ . Today we recognize its sound, we know it has many colours, it has a shape and form and even a taste and smell. The Hope Centre is a tangible testimony and witness to the power of hope in the healing process of our students, both those who were taken captive into Syria by ISIS and those who escaped captivity but lost all in the weeks that ISIS took over their ancient homeland of Sinjar.
Behind our blue gates the rebuilding of lives of kids taken into the Caliphate, forced to be soldiers on the frontlines of the Islamic State, quietly takes place. Young men whose dreams were to be doctors, lawyers and archeologists found themselves as young teens, wielding rifles and making bombs. The Hope Centre is the place where through love, acceptance, education and the provision of vocational skills, their dreams and hopes can be re-embraced.
Amidst lush orchards, sculptures, the scent of lavender, and friendly animals, young women who were raped, tortured, and dehumanised reclaim their identity. Women who were sold repeatedly on the slave markets of Syria, discover their true worth and redefine their lives. Girls who entered our blue gates with empty faces, wearing black now giggle and laugh, do zumba, try out the latest fashions, and wear pink, orange, green, red, every colour apart from black.
The Hope Centre offers a high standard of educational programmes covering the arts, music, drama and photography where opportunity is made both for learning and the participation in regular exhibitions both in the centre, the local community and further afield.
English as a second language is offered both in class and by our experienced international volunteer staff online, as are computer science, coding and programming. The restrictive horizons of camp life are broadened as our students explore geography, world cultures and global peace heroes.
Sports, football, volleyball, track and gymnastics have taken a firm place in our curriculum both for the students rescued from ISIS, and those displaced.
We place quiet but great emphasis upon psychotrauma counselling and play therapy for all our students, and clients from the local community.
The Hope Centre embraces those considered dangerous by the surrounding community. The Hope Centre loves those who hate themselves. The Hope Centre breathes respect and dignity to those downcast by shame and defeat. The Hope Centre is an educational centre, that is the baseline, it is way more. It is a counterculture lifestyle. One that with your help, will continue to impact lives and change future generations.