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The Birthing Chair

I was tagged in a Facebook post this week. I am tagged in many by tent dwellers who want their voice to be heard, the majority of which never make it to my page. This however caused me to spring into immediate action. It was the saddest of stories, a tragic story that needed an immediate infusion of life and demanded both hearing and justice.

“I rescued the poor who cried for help and the fatherless who had none to assist them. I was a father to the needy, I took up the case of the stranger”

Job 29

This is from the transcript of the video.

“We are from Tel Qasb village in Sinjar, now living in Shariya Camp.”

Interviewer: “Hanin, don’t cry, there are good people who will help you. God will help you.”

“I am crying when I see my siblings and I am unable to help them. These things make me cry. Since our parents died, we were not even able to visit their graves due to our hard situation. We miss them so much. We are not able to go anywhere or do anything due to our circumstances.”

Hanin was 5 and her brother Hanan 6 when their mother died. Their father remarried, his wife gave birth to Habib and Kovan. The father also died. Tragedy continued when the stepmother abandoned her two children, Habib and Kovan in order to remarry, telling Hanin that she was now their mother.

Hanin continues:

“My story is very hard, at this young age we were all orphans. I was going to school and at the same time the mother of three. I needed a mother. How can I take care of these children without any help, any support? Overnight I became both mother and father.

We are reliant upon our neighbors to give us food. Hanan does not go to school, he tries to find day work but there is nothing at the moment. Sometimes our neighbors give us clothes or something for our tent.

"I can’t buy anything for my siblings. Not clothes or even a biscuit or bag of chips for school. My heart is filled with sorrow when I see them sitting on the side watching their friends eat and they have nothing. They return from school hungry but there is nothing to give them, they only eat if the neighbors bring food.

"We all have two pairs of clothes. One I wash for them. One we wear. I am very embarrassed when I see our friends at school wearing nice, clean clothes. I am broken and embarrassed. I just wish for clothes for my siblings.

"This is too heavy a situation for me to carry alone, please help us.” Hanin today, age 14.

“But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted, you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you. You are the helper of the fatherless.”

Psalm 10

I saw the FB post late at night, the next morning we sent in a team to visit and to check the situation. These are additional details that Hanin shared with us: “Our mother was killed in an explosion in Sinjar. “Our father went into deep grief that day and died of a heart attack, there was no warning, one minute in life, the next he was dead. Even though he remarried his heart and thoughts were always with our mother. “My brother tries to find day work, usually making cement or lifting blocks but there is little work in general and nothing in the winter. “Not one organization has helped us in the eight years of camp life. Many have come, even international NGOs and filmmakers. They have all taken photos, made recordings and that is it. “Neighbors lent us the money to make ID cards a few years ago but we haven't been able to pay them back yet. “Our Dad was an artist, a very talented one so from time to time he would sell paintings and that money kept us alive. We miss him so much. “Our stepmother completely avoids all contact with us and with her two children. It is as if we are all dead, her children are dead to her."

Click on the button to watch Hanin's interview:


Thanks to a recent donation we were able to step into immediate action, taking Hanin and Hanan to Camp Management where we completed the necessary paperwork granting permission to take down and return the tent, and to build a block house in its place. We are currently blessed with cold but dry days so that we can build.

Blessed also with our friends, who partner with us. Others would look at them as contractors, but they are our friends. When we shared the story, they too, dropped all and sprung into action alongside us.


Hanin’s voice has bounced around the camp for eight years. Hanin’s voice until today has returned void. I am asking you to help this family. I am asking for offerings and gifts that come from hearts of love. I am believing for several thousand dollars so that we can buy them blankets, mattresses, pillows, clothes and continue to administer finance to them as needed, clothes in winter, clothes in summer, the purchase of school books, a cookie and bag of chips. I am also asking for four sponsors. For four people who can look above world shakings and respond to the plight of four orphans seeing the chance to rebuild their lives. I am asking for four people who will sponsor each child for the duration of 2023, each giving $60 per child, with that giving them a chance at life. Reading Rabbi Sacks this week I discovered something amazing. The Hebrew word for “crisis” is “mashber” which is also a “birthing chair”. It is well known that the Chinese ideogram for “crisis” also means “opportunity”. Any civilization that can see the blessing within the curse, the fragment of light within the heart of darkness, has within it the capacity to endure. Hebrew goes one better. The word for crisis, mashber, also means “a child-birth chair.” Written into the semantics of Jewish consciousness is the idea that the pain of hard times is a collective form of the contractions of a woman giving birth. Something new is being born.

We have the ability to take this crisis and to birth new life, new hope. Please help us to birth a new thing on behalf of this broken family. For those who read and are people of faith and prayer, I would ask for prayer as non-Yezidi orphans are coming to us asking to become part of Our Tribe. We have been approached by Christian orphans from surrounding villages and have extended our covering to them. We are currently sitting on that Birthing Chair.



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