Research brief: Wellbeing of Yazidi Children


The Yazidis are a minority group of Kurdistan that have long been persecuted for their religious practices and forced to convert to Islam. On 3 August 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) brutally attacked the Yazidi community living in Sinjar. Within a few days, 9,900 Yazidis had been killed or abducted, including hundreds who died on Mount Sinjar from starvation, dehydration or injuries. Half of those killed were children, as were most of those who died on Mount Sinjar from injuries or lack of food and water. Yazidi boys as young as seven years were separated from their families and sent to training camps where they were indoctrinated, trained and used in hostilities. Yazidi women and girls as young as nine years were abducted and forced into sexual slavery.

In 2021 – seven years after the genocide – Save the Children Iraq Country Office initiated a multi-phase study to understand how the 2014 events continue to shape the current living circumstances, hopes, and aspirations of Yazidi children, who were less than ten years old at the time of the attack. Phase I of the study included a review of the existing research, which later informed focus group discussions with 33 Yazidi caregivers as well as interviews, group discussions and mapping activities with 117 Yazidi children. Children with disabilities could not be included in Phase I, so Phase II focused specifically on their experiences through journalling, mapping exercises and interviews with 20 children with disabilities. Phase II also included focus group discussions with 57 caregivers of Yazidi children with disabilities.

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