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Abd from Mosul - no longer called Crazy

In 2017, the city of Mosul in northern Iraq was liberated from IS. The liberation gave hope and new perspective, but it was bought at great cost.

shelter in a destroyed city

Community centers throughout Mosul

In the aftermath of the victory over IS, ZOA, together with local partner IID, established a number of so-called community centers throughout Mosul. Community centers are places where the people of Mosul can find shelter in the midst of the chaos of their destroyed city – and often their destroyed hearts.  One of the teenagers that came to the center was the 16-year-old Abd al-Rahman. People used to call him Crazy.

Abd was brought to the center by his mother. It was her final option. She felt desperate because the doctors diagnosed Abd with a slight intellectual disability and excessive movement.  As a result, she couldn’t get her handicapped son enrolled in school. All schools she approached stated that they did not have sufficient capabilities to follow up on a case like Abd. The center was the only option left. Abd’s mother shared with the team that her son was bullied by the people close to him, even by his father and his peers. She stood helpless and didn’t not know what to do.

Psychosocial support

Our team in Mosul decided to provide psychosocial support to both Abd and his mother separately. As the mother underwent individual support sessions, the social workers gave her advice on the treatment method that could positively affect the development of her child’s condition. She was taught that she should help her son and stay away from reprimand him, and that she should encourage and support him instead.

The team also provided support to Abd. They used a reward method for any positive behavior he showed and made sure he got enough space to feel part of the group. They made sure he felt that his presence completed the group. The social workers sought to involve Abd in physical activities to discharge the energy he possessed. Slowly, things started to change. 

Blending into the community

Today, Abd al-Rahman continues to come to the center because he feels welcome there. He is studying and writing his homework enthusiastically, as he became like other children, learning and playing with them. His presence in the center contributed in blending him in the community. People started to treat him normally without fear and no longer call him Crazy.

We are here for people like Abd. Together, IID and ZOA opened eight different centres in East and West Mosul since the project was launched in March 2017. For more than 6,000 women and 12,000 children these places are a safe haven.

Read more about our programme in Iraq.