Moussa was a part of the Yazidi community from the Nineveh Plains in Iraq. Well, what was left of it anyways.

In 2014, the terrorist group Daesh had committed genocide against the Yazidi community of Iraq, killing tens of thousands of Yazidi men and boys, with thousands of Yazidi girls being taken as sex slaves.

Moussa, only a teenage boy, had already lived through the trauma of a grown man at war.

Their homes were destroyed, and their families separated. The Yazidi people would never be the same. Their entire community was hopeless.

He was hopeless.

But fortunately, unlike thousands of others, he survived.

When towns and villages were liberated from Daesh, displaced communities began to return and rebuild their lives.

Moussa was terrified to return to school, especially since he knew he would eventually have to engage with other students, including those same Muslim students who lived under Daesh.

Upon returning to school, he stayed to himself, incredibly untrusting of everyone. All of the other students did the same. He could tell that everyone was afraid.

But the best part about school was that he very much liked his teachers, Mr. Rafid and Mr. Rian.

Upon their own return to Bashika as teachers, Mr. Rafid and Mr. Rian were working with Hardwired to learn new ways to respond to the fears and mistrusts of their students. They knew it wouldn’t be easy, but something had to be done to help their students adapt to one another and rebuild trust in their communities. 

Hardwired encouraged Mr. Rafid and Mr. Rian to use one of the Hardwired plays in their classrooms. Hardwired shared that the play was developed specifically by other Hardwired teachers who encountered the same fears and misconceptions of students in Lebanon.

Hardwired trained both teachers and helped them navigate along the way as they began to teach pluralism and promote peace and diversity to their students, all clearly traumatized by war.

Moussa was one of those students.

Mr. Rafid and Mr. Rian worked with their students to perform Hardwired’s play as a way to help them process and share their experiences amongst one another in a direct and comfortable way.

Both teachers watched as the play helped children like Moussa reflect and apply what they saw in the play to their own life and circumstances.

They observed powerful changes within the student’s interactions with one another, and their perspectives on religious diversity and pluralism, including those of Moussa.

For the first time in years, Moussa was hopeful for his future, for the future of the Yazidi people, and for all diverse groups of Iraq.

“We learned to work together and coexist… to love each other and cooperate with our neighbors and friends… to work together.” – Moussa

Thank you. Your support has given Hardwired the opportunity to inspire much-needed hope for the Yazidi children of Iraq, like Moussa, and their communities.