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Iraq. Empowering Survivors.

Helping women survivors of sexual and gender based violence rebuild their lives and raise their voices.

Your support could help us to empower 200 survivors of sexual violence and help them to start small businesses.

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What your money can buy

could support a survivor of sexual violence to receive training and guidance in coping with her experiences and understanding her rights.

could support 50 women to receive business skills training, such as sales and bookkeeping.

Your donation can do something brilliant

This project is designed to help survivors of sexual and gender based violence to feel more confident, to reduce stigma and support them to create small business and earn an income.

With your support, we aim to support 200 women and girl survivors to feel empowered to change attitudes to sexual violence in their communities, and reduce the stigma experienced by survivors. We aim to enable 100 women and girl survivors to start small businesses, and earn an income to provide for their families, whilst also making them feel empowered in their local communities. This way, we hope these women will be able to reach over 4,000 community members and 25 community leaders, to change attitudes toward survivors of sexual and gender based violence.

A bit of background

After over ten years out of the country, Oxfam returned to Iraq in 2014 as a result of the renewed conflict, working through partners to support women's rights and livelihoods. Conflict has affected northern Iraq for many years. Sexual violence, including rape, sexual slavery, trafficking and child marriage, is often used as weapon of war exacerbating women and girls' vulnerability. As with many conflicts, women and girls are amongst the most affected, with reports showing 46% of girls aged 10 to 14 have been exposed to violence by a family member at least once in the month prior to being surveyed. Many health and social services desperately lack funding and government support, which means that those who experience violence cannot obtain the health or psychological support they require after these traumatic events. To make matters worse, survivors of sexual violence often face stigma within their families and communities. They can be cut off from accessing work, unable to marry and may even be killed due to the shame on their families, in what is widely known as "honour killings".

How we're helping

Oxfam are working to identify and train 200 women and girl survivors of sexual violence to understand their rights, gain leadership skills and learn ways to cope with their experiences. The women will then be encouraged to carry out their own awareness raising sessions for their families and communities. We hope to train 50 community trainers (women and male community leaders) to conduct awareness raising sessions.

We aim to support 100 of the most vulnerable survivors who wish to start generating an income by providing vocational training and business skills (such as sales, marketing and bookkeeping) and we will provide small business grants of up to $600 to each woman to help them get started with their ideas. 


Photo: Dalia Ahmed/Oxfam

Look how far your money can go

However much you can afford, your donation will really change lives. 

Amal's story

Amal*, 42, was struggling to support herself and her family when her husband divorced her and she was left with no income and no shelter. Amal was forced to leave her home in Baghdad due to the conflict and has no immediate family to call upon for a place to live and has been moving from house to house staying for a short time with different extended family members. Amal's husband was not happy with this and so forced their 16 year old daughter to marry so she did not have to live with strangers. He also stopped Amal from visiting her daughter. Through the work of Oxfam supporting vulnerable women and survivors to regain control of their lives and create an income, Amal was given a grant to start a new business. She now sews clothes for women and children to make an income and feels more able to cope emotionally and financially with her situation.

*names have been changed to protect identities

For every £1 you donate, we will allocate 10p of your donation to cover general support and running costs. There is a small chance that we will raise more money than is needed for this project. If this happens, we'll spend any additional funds on other Oxfam projects - wherever the need is greatest.