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The Peacemakers

Two horsemen came riding into our lives recently, one some six months ago and the second just a month ago. They both belong to our village and both are shepherds actually. They are both used to being up at daybreak and taking the sheep out, then feeding the chickens, and returning the sheep at sunset.

In some ways they remind me of our vet Dr Ayad who practices on cats, then treats our horses, and it works out and we all ( so far ) live happily ever after.

We would like to introduce our two horsemen to you this week, and as usual, allow them to speak for themselves. Let’s hear from Wissam, childhood friend of several of our staff, who rode into our life at Horses for Hope around six months ago.


“When you see a good horseman you are unable to tell where the instruction is coming from.”

Benedict Cumberbatch



“Hello and warm greetings to all of Springs of Hope Foundation friends and family.


I am Wissam Rasho Yousef, born in 2002 in Karshiniya village, part of the Shariya complex of villages. I am from the Domli tribe.


My father sadly died in 2014. I have seven brothers and six sisters. My mother is incredible, helping each one of us through every obstacle in life. When my father died, she immediately picked up his mantle, taking his place, and never allowed us to pity ourselves or feel any form of inferiority or lack for our loss.


We are an agricultural family, our life is one of livestock, farming, owning and taking care of animals. 

Through two of my childhood friends, Natik, the Director of Music, and Shex Vagar also at Horses for Hope, I heard that there was an opening after Daoud returned to Shingal.


I immediately found my place, since I was a child I dreamed of having a horse and making a good relationship with it. I love all our Springs of Hope horses, each one is different and needs a different approach. I am grateful to God that the horses love me, as I love them. I enjoy being with them and will give them my best.


I find that I am even more fulfilled when our students come, some with special needs, some orphans, some rescued from ISIS. Each group is so different and has its own challenges and triumphs. I love it when I see that they are happy. I love to see their smiles.


I love being able to bring joy and hope to people. I love helping people. I love people and firmly believe in coexistence. I love peace and I believe that love always wins. I love those who do not love me. I will always help them no matter what. I love deliberately so that their hearts will not get darker. I chose to love.


I love all of our staff, they are all my friends, all good and respectable people. Miss Sahla is the flower of the Hope Centre. Actually all the staff are like flowers, we are all different but we grow together.


Also about Miss Lisa. Believe me I love her from the bottom of my heart, she is one of the people you can't describe in words, very respectful and lovable. I see her as my best sister. I have learned so much from her, from the way she talks and behaves. I swear to God that she is amazing.


I love you all, and pray to God that we all will help each other to be successful and succeed in our mission. I pray that we will bring healing and life to many more people and I hope that we make life beautiful for all those who come across our path.


I love you all, if I forgot something in my essay, I am sorry.”  



Wissam at Horses of Hope


“Being a horseman isn't something you put on in the morning and take off at night, it is a constant state of mind.” 




“I am Zirak, from Hawira village in the Shariya complex. I was born in 2000 and have a large family, seven brothers and four sisters. Sadly I did not complete my high school studies and graduated early and began to work to bring in money for the family.


My tribe is Hawira, we were more like Bedouin until more recent years when we settled in the complex. My tribe is known for raising sheep, cows and chickens. I lived with my uncle in Domiz for about three years raising sheep. 

I then received this wonderful opportunity with the Springs of Hope Family to learn to be a horse trainer. I am so very, very happy, both with the team and all the Springs of Hope staff and of course with the horses and the land. This is not “just a job” for me. This is my life, this is my passion. I know that it will not be easy, I know that I am new to this, I know that there will be challenges and difficulties but I am ready for them.


I love working and interacting with the students, I volunteered with an NGO for a while, I am quiet but I love people, and love helping them.


The night that Taj got sick was so hard for me. My heart broke for him and I hope that he knew that we were fighting for him, fighting alongside him to save his life. I hope that our determination affected him. Shex Vagar, Wissam and I were there all night. We kept him on his feet, we kept him moving, making sure that he did not lie down. We took care of each other, giving each other breaks and we took care of Taj. When the sun came up I knew that Taj had passed the critical hours, and that we were all bonded forever.


Thank God Taj is well. I am committed to serving all of our horses without differentiating among them. I am committed to serving my community. I am committed to life and to peace between men.


To be honest I can’t put words into sentences in order to show how appreciative and grateful I am to belong to this wonderful family, especially to have been trusted with the Hope horses.


Thank you all.”



Zirak at Horses for Hope


It was a great loss when Daoud returned to Shingal where he is now occupied by restoring his family home which was destroyed by ISIS. He misses us and the horses and remains connected.


These two horsemen are also a gift from God. When they go home for their lunch break, they do not rest, they move their sheep and feed their chickens. Such is their dedication.


Yes, our precious Taj became sick, and got severe colic. For a few dark hours it truly was touch and go. To see these guys rallying throughout the night hours was very moving, we had to forcibly send them home to rest in the morning.


They both come from tribes that are blessed with incredible voices, and are singers par excellence. I find it interesting that Wissam, Zirak along with the Master of the Daf, Shex Vagar are all either musicians or singers. We will have very happy horses.

Change is always hard, it was hard to see Daoud go home after his ten years of exile. But we have been blessed with these two shepherds and their quiet spirits of peace who have come riding into our lives. Indeed, blessed are the peacemakers, ours wearing shepherd's clothing. 


“People notice peacemakers because they dress funny. We know how the people who make war dress - in uniforms and medals, or in computers and clipboards, or in absoluteness, severity, greed, and cynicism. But the peacemaker is dressed in righteousness, justice, and faithfulness - dressed for the work that is to be done."


Walter Brueggemann


Can you help?

Your generous gifts are empowering our Horses of Hope project to continue to bring healing and restoration to so many. 


Every donation makes a huge difference.


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