Aliya* felt the delicate fabric slip through her fingertips. Her sewing machine propelled the pretty pattern forward as the needle and thread pumped up and down in a blur.
Around her, the whirring sounds of the small sewing shop seemed muffled. The young Yazidi mother—who has a hearing disability—was deeply absorbed in her work. The dress in which she poured her time and talent that day was coming together beautifully.
While growing up in the Sinjar District of Iraq, Aliya’s partial deafness often presented challenges. Add to that the pain inflicted by ISIS, plus the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic, and it’s no wonder Aliya started to struggle.
She isn’t alone. Worldwide, millions of women suffer from violence, exploitation, poverty, poor healthcare, and unsafe water. These women are often mothers like Aliya. Their hearts’ desire is simply to care for the children they love.
That’s why the opportunity to become a seamstress was like a lifeline to Aliya. It was a livelihood she could count on to help provide for her two kids. It was also the fulfillment of a childhood dream, made possible through the generosity and prayers of people like you.
When Aliya was younger, she dreamed of becoming a seamstress and small business owner. But opportunities were always limited, especially because of her hearing. She could only find seasonal labor at a local fruit orchard.
ISIS then attacked in 2014—and every hope, dream, and livelihood the Yazidis had was destroyed.
Aliya fled to Sinjar Mountain with her husband and children. They survived there for a week before escaping to a refugee camp in Kurdistan. Six long years passed before they could return, but there was little to welcome them home. The land and dwellings were now scarred, much like their own hearts.
But God has opened a door for Samaritan’s Purse to minister to Yazidi families through your gifts. Together, we have an opportunity to help them resettle in Sinjar and regain a sense of peace.
Livelihood projects are working hand-in-hand with other wellness initiatives to address the Yazidis’ many needs. This includes farming assistance, beekeeping training, small business grants, and apprenticeship opportunities for people like Aliya.
Biblical teaching is woven into the training sessions, and our team readily shares more about the Gospel when these stories resonate with listeners.
Praise God, the shop where Aliya completed her training asked her to continue working! She’s now called upon to help during high-demand days and with large orders of women’s dresses.
“She has expressed much gratitude for how her new job has improved her mental health and removed the constant stress caused by her inability to provide for her family,” said our local staff. “The program allowed her to pursue her sewing dreams and get a job. She is happily working at the sewing shop and hopes to open her own shop once she has gained even more experience.”
Aliya is one of thousands of women finding hope, health, and dignity through projects like this one around the world.
In East Africa, Year-long safe housing and support programs are helping women like Mirembe escape prostitution. We’re also training midwives in the Philippines to provide isolated mothers like Kimberly with prenatal and postnatal care. Then, there are women such as Mama Widia, who has been empowered to grow nutritious food for her six children in Indonesia.
Through your prayers and support, many more of these courageous moms have an opportunity to move from a story of heartbreak to one of great hope.
“Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come” (Proverbs 31:25).
*Name changed to protect privacy
The hardships women in the developing world face often leave them without hope. Through your generous gifts, Samaritan's Purse is working to restore the hope of women through programs aimed at increasing literacy, providing maternal health care, teaching livelihood skills, and stopping trafficking and prostitution.