IRAQ TRIP 3 WITH THE SCOOP FOUNDATION
This was my third time in Iraq. The first two trips with Calvin from the SCOOP Foundation (Syrias vibes) were more or less art therapy and workshop classes. The first classes would introduce the young people to something new, trough painting, Drawing and stencils. I have to say It’s been a great experience for me and after meeting such amazing and welcoming people and was very easy to back and try to do more if I can.
A few years ago, at one of the launches for an art auction I had mentioned to Calvin and Andy that introducing computer and IT education to some of the schools they were working with in Cambodia and Pakistan. Just before my last trip I started to discuss it a little more with Calvin and I set up a GoFundme to go back to the camp, continue the art classes (news of an exhibition coming soon) and see about setting up some IT classes.
I have to say the SCOOP boys (Calvin and brother Andy) did an amazing job and got 12 laptops for us to bring to the camp and set up the first phase of the new IT program last November 2019.
We headed back to meet the guys and set up a room in the Clinic that Calvin had arranged for the long term program.
The aim of the computer/Arts room is to set up an area in the camp where people who are and have left school/college to use the computers to build on new skills and learn through play.
The structure of the time used in the room would be split into 3 areas;
1. School studies
2. IT and creative technology
3. Free time for games, videos and films.
A BIT ABOUT THE PROJECT
1. Computer studies that help young people with school work and this would be thought by volunteer teachers on Skype type classes. Classes might consist of Physics, Math’s, Biology and can be tough by local teachers in Iraq or oversees volunteers. It would also be good to include English classes versions. Each class will be using the curriculum used in the schools.
2. IT and creative technology would include the likes of basic typing skills word documents to Photoshop and coding. In phase two (happening now while writing this) we have partnered up with coder dojo who have provided some classes in web, code and game design.
3. Fun and game and a comfortable safe space (especially for young girls) is important to have at the camp. Fun and games are how we explore and if we play games and watch films maybe we can also find an interest in making them.
In the first days back last November we were not sure how it would go. The US military had just pulled out weeks before and Turkey was continuing and escalating its genocide on the Syrian Kurds. I have to admit I was a little nervous before leaving on this trip but as soon as we had arrived it just felt great to be back and saying hello to friends.
In the first few days we spent organizing the room and then starting some classes to gauge an interest and to find the problems so we could run effective classes in the time frames for each day.
For at 9 we would work with 17 yrs plus, generally people how have left school. In the early and late afternoons the ages would vary and also English language would also be a factor. Over the week we would continue classes and try and find the issues that we would need to over come in phase 2.
I’m delighted to say that Calvin has headed back with two amazing volunteers who have been working (fundraising and supporting) on building out an effective timetable and platform for the next month. Dylan and Sarah both worked in Google and left their jobs to continue on their careers and travel. Before starting they decided to go to the camp teach some classes.
We hope phase to start in the Summer 2020 and after that we will try to build this ‘Module’ to take to other camps in the area.
There are almost 12000 people in this camp and its the smallest in the area.
TheScoopFundation : https://scoopfoundation.org/
The clinic in the camp is run by Joint help for kurdistan: JHK is devoted to helping displaced and conflict-affected people in the Kurdistan region. Our activities include: emergency relief, healthcare, education, women’s empowerment, civil society support, and rehabilitation for genocide survivors.
JHK is proudly non-partisan and non-sectarian: we stand with victims of war and genocide without regard to faith, ethnicity or political affiliation.
Joint help for kurdistan facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JointHelpKurdistan/