WHERE WE WORK
125,000 people thereabout, of which 65% of them are refugees who’ve come back to Iraq over the past decade. Diana is the capital, meaning “Christian” in Kurdish, as it was historically a small village of Chaldeans long before the displaced came. To this day the Chaldeans still inhabit an area of the the city, and continue to live in peace with their Muslim neighbors.
Soran City, bordering Iran and Turkey in the far northeastern corner of Iraq, is hedged in by some of the region's tallest mountains—which is why it's invariably a safe haven for so many. Decades after Saddam's regime, those that fled Iraq to Iran returned and settled in and around the district of Soran, as their home villages were unlivable piles of rubble still threatened by the PKK and bombs from the Turks.
Following ISIS's recent advancement in the region, the Yezidis of Sinjar, Arabs from the south, as well as refugees from Syria have been added to the montage of folks in the district. And though Soran is lacking in funds from the Iraqi government to support even themselves, they are doing anything and everything to accommodate the influx of people—knowing full well the region's stability is indefinite. Unarguably, Soran's “hospitality” towards the newcomers can be attributed almost entirely to having been alienated once themselves.
It is for this reason we have chosen this city to live and build communities of hope.