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Unfolding People

Our children, whatever their age, are the children that the world tried to break. The children upon whom the world turned their back. The children upon whom evil without measure was poured out. The children whose parents are still missing after ten years. A generation growing up as orphans with aunties and uncles. A generation who just a week ago were standing on the side of yet another mass grave in Tel Afar waiting for potential news of loved ones' bones found in the grave.


Our children became frontline targets back in 2014, tortured, raped, conscripted, forced into child labor, forced into sexual servitude, starved, shifted from place to place, abducted whilst enslaved, married and sold, again and again and again as have other children from other nations and people groups in this century, creating an evil "new normal". Only it is not normal. Nothing about stealing one’s childhood is normal or violating the rights of a child is normal. Neither is the silence or apathy around it.


These are our children, resilient beyond measure, brave with courage and determination that the majority of children from affluent nations have no comprehension. These, whom evil tried to eradicate, just may end up being the ones who will grow up, will unfold into people who will save the world.


These are the Unfolding People whom we celebrated this week on International Children's Day. Kids who need love, kids who learn by example, kids who need guidance as there are no loving educated parents to do this. Today, for example, we held a workshop on the dangers of early marriage after one of our students, who was under 18, eloped and got married. It was not planned, it was not part of our schedule, the need arose and we had to respond.  Unfolding People can not wait. 


“Children are the living messages that we send to a time we will not see.”

Neil Postman



“I honor and congratulate all the children on International Children’s Day, especially our Springs of Hope children.


I wish to encourage parents around the world to give attention to their children every day of the year, not just when a special day is allocated to them. Your child is like a white page, and it is your behavior, your attitude that paints your child’s life. So please do not pause for an hour just one day of the year,  but examine yourself and the input that you have in your precious child’s life.


Dear parent, if your child lacks self confidence, if your child does not trust himself it means that you are not giving him the support and encouragement that he (she) needs.


Dear parent, if your child is weak in speech, if he is slow to speak, then your communication with him is at fault.


Dear parent, if your child is always angry, then look behind that anger, look at his frustration, look at what you are withholding from him. Please don't be angry with your child or punish him.


Dear parents, your child is our future.


Yes, we had an incredible day with our children, many of whom had never seen such activities or felt such joy, acceptance and love. The cherry on the cake was the presence of the Dahka Primary School, who all attended and were stunned as they have been starved of such activities.


In short, my message is to the parents who will read this. Invest in your children, and as you do, check yourself."


Thank you,




Steven, Sports Coach

“Every kid in this world should have access to equal rights and equal opportunities. Every child has the same value, but sadly this world does not recognize such things for children, and does very little to protect them.


Our kids are orphans, living in tents. Yet they are no less than a child from a wealthy family abroad. They do not have less intelligence or less standards. They just don't have a chance.  Our tent kids dream of being a football player, of being a doctor, and engineer and they give everything to their meagre schooling to attain this. But our kids dream of a hug, they dream of a parent or a sibling being found and brought home. Our kids dream of someone who sees them and will sit down and laugh with them, to help them focus on the present and not on their years in captivity. Your kids have everything, ours have nothing and that is where we come into the picture to help educate and guide them into a bright future.


We have celebrated our children every day of the week for almost ten years now, but we always dedicate this day to them. It is a gift of honor from us to them. It gives them hope and strength to see the public demonstration of our belief in them. It is a community hug.


Our kids are your future. Our kids are like lamps. We learn to help them light these lamps so that they will light our way in this dark world and help to build a brighter future. Maybe one day, one of your children will be led by one of ours.” 


Steven, Sports Coach


Ayhan, Liaison Officer

“In my opinion organising a special event for children of all ages is not just necessary, it is essential. Yes it is true that we live and work with children so every day is theirs but it is so important that we give International Childrens’ Day to them in a recognised and formal way. 

Our children have the purest souls, and somehow the evil that they have experienced has not stained their soul. They are the future of our community and our region and anything that we can do to bring them joy, to give them restorative memories and to help them grow and move forward, has a profound impact on each one of them.


International Children’s Day was breathing fresh air into them, giving them strength to continue with their tent dwelling, alone without families. It challenged them once again to know that their dreams have not fallen to the ground and that they can succeed.


It was a day full of laughter, games and special educational activities. We also focused upon mental well being, offering mindfulness and relaxation activities and emotional support, ensuring that every child felt seen, felt wanted, and felt valued and understood.


Our reward was seeing the smiles on once blank faces, watching the excitement in their eyes. To see an orphan’s eyes twinkle reminds us why such community days are so important and contribute to a brighter, stronger future for them.” 


Ayhan. Liaison Officer



“We can never eradicate the memories of all that happened to our students whilst in captivity but we can give them joy upon joy so that these new memories and emotions begin to stack up and hopefully one day, will outweigh the dark sad ones.” 



Natik, Music Director

“When we celebrate World Children’s Day I think back to my childhood. True I grew up in the village but we were very poor and I did not even have a pair of shoes so that I could go to school. I had no idea that children had such a day dedicated to them, I believe that if I had known, it would have helped me through a hard childhood without joy.


When we make such an activity, and keep in mind that many of our students have been with us for a few years and have celebrated this day, they all talk about it for days and sometimes weeks after as the joy deeply touched and invigorated them.


In cases where there are parents and they hear of our plans through the community or on social media, they make sure that their children come as they want them to be active in something wholesome outside the tent. When kids have nothing to do and nowhere to go they waste their time on their phones or get into trouble.


When the kids join in the dance, the music, paint with the artists and receive applause it is as if all heaven is clapping for them.


We have recently opened a choral group under the tutorship of Adnan which is a resounding success as Yezidi children love to sing, it is in their DNA.  They were so proud of their progress as were we.


We recently adopted the Dahka school who came to their first such event, when children are the centre of attention and every activity is planned with their benefit and joy in mind. They were blown away as a new and vibrant world opened up to them.


We are grateful to all of who who support us and enable to continue to impact and help heal the lives of our children. Thank you.” 


Natik, Music Director

Adnan's choral group rehearsing

Salam and Mr. Basil, the Headmaster of Dahka school


Hazina, ISIS Survivor

“It would be a miracle if on International Kids day my family would return from captivity and I could go home to Shingal. I loved our celebration day, it was totally perfect.

My dream is to be a doctor to help people in a medical way and to save their lives. I will pray that next time we celebrate, my parents will be with me.”


It will soon be ten years since August 3rd 2014. We sometimes sit and recall parts of the chapters that span this decade, we smile and scratch our heads and wonder how all of this has happened. So many children, so many students, so many lives of children that have unfolded into big people in front of our eyes. The journey has been full of toils and snares, the path has not been smooth, it has been weighty yet not burdensome.


The joy of watching this process of Unfolding People, is above all, to see them heal, to watch the life break through and then release them to their future whole and hopeful is worth it all.


With the grace of God we will continue to do life here in the Land between the Two Rivers, to unfold people and just maybe next year, we will dance with Hazina’s parents. 


Can you help?

Your generous giving helps many others to unfold. To heal, and be released into the world with hope. 


Every donation makes a huge difference.


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