This month, IBB is celebrating women across Persia, the Middle East, and North Africa that are bravely sharing their stories about life under extremist rule in the hopes of making their region safer, better, and more inclusive and diverse for everyone. Check out their stories and articles below.
"Overnight, I was turned from 14 to 19."
"A Yazidi woman escaped ISIS in Syria and keeps in her purse the names of the fighters who enslaved and assaulted her."
"Two years after ISIL ceded territory in Iraq, these courageous women are clearing mines on their journey back home."
These women are empowering others who have suffered sexual abuse and violence, devastating loss, and violent horror at the hands of extremist groups, and are using their voices to uplift a region.
Young adults in our target areas have similar stories to the brave women you've read about; they have grown up under ISIS, Al-Qaeda, or similar regimes and are accustomed to acts of violence, threats, and aggression faced by those under extremist rule. Information on human rights, women's rights, and democratic movements and institutions is inaccessible and often wholly unavailable due to active censorship and oppression. Unlocking access to these ideas and making them available for discussion is a prerequisite to building equality and lasting peace in the region.
We've launched partnerships with local universities to create on-the-ground programs to rebuild Post-ISIS territories. These programs empower families and young adults devastated in the aftermath of war and terrorism. At each partner university, we're enrolling 30 students a year into our Bayt Al Hikma 2.0 translation program to translate, discuss, and spread the values of pluralism and enlightenment. In exchange for their efforts, program participants receive a small stipend for the school year, the mentorship of a program coordinator, help with resumes and cover letters for economic empowerment, and official certification as a translator for our program.
We aim for equal representation of genders in our university program participants, and are eager to help young women work towards a better, brighter future for their region.