In 2014, ISIS invaded the Sinjar district in Ninewa, Iraq forcing mass displacement. The Yazidi population were faced with the threat of execution if they did not convert to the Islam faith. Many resisted and were killed instantly, while an overwhelming amount of people fled within Iraq.
Abdulhafeth Sultan Abduallah was one of the estimated 200,000 Yazidi who found himself fleeing. During the brutality, Abdulhafeth fled north to the Bardarash region in Dohuk where he now runs a business with his friend in a community that welcomed him from the time he arrived.
Fifty-year-old Abdulhafeth, immediately immersed himself into his new community, learning new cultures, making friends and discovering new possibilities such as GOAL’s business and vocational training programme. Eager to rebuild a new life for himself, Abdulhafeth applied for the training and was delighted when he was accepted onto the programme where he worked with a fellow participant in the programme to apply for a cash grant and began developing a poultry business.
Abdulhafeth was very distressed when his business partner chose to step away from their plan, leaving him in a very distressing position as the business model was based on two people. Determined to make the most of this opportunity, Abdulhafeth reached out to another one of the programme’s participants and showed him his business proposal.
Twenty-seven-year-old, Masoud Ahmed Muhemmed became friends with Abdulhafeth during the training as they had both been through similar turmoil and shared stories about the homes and loved ones they had left behind. Although, Masoud had plans to develop a business alone, he did not want to turn his back on his friend.
“I didn’t care for a bigger business it was never a concern of mine, but when a friend is in need of your help that’s when you try to put him first. When you know that you can be part of accomplishing your friend’s dream - you try your best.”
In the moment Masoud agreed to help, Abdulhafeth realised how much their friendship really meant.
"“A good friendship isn’t about who you have known the longest, it’s about who is willing to stand by your side to support and help you when you need a hand.” "
Both men are working together to build the business more and they share the costs and the profits. This business has allowed them to support themselves and their families and build a new life for themselves in their new community.
“GOAL has not only helped us to support our families, but it has also given us a chance to build great relations with one another, it’s the reason I found a friend for life.”
GOAL’s vocational training is supported by US Bureau for Populations, Refugees and Migration for residents in Bardarash.