Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Village of Hope

How one woman was inspired to make a difference.
By IWPR Iraq
  • Manar Al-Zybaidi, IWPR trainee who started the campaign to improve negative attitudes towards Iraq’s gypsy community. (Still from video by IWPR)
    Manar Al-Zybaidi, IWPR trainee who started the campaign to improve negative attitudes towards Iraq’s gypsy community. (Still from video by IWPR)
  • Al-Fawar village. (Still from video by IWPR)
    Al-Fawar village. (Still from video by IWPR)
  • Temporary school in Al-Fawar village. (Still from video by IWPR)
    Temporary school in Al-Fawar village. (Still from video by IWPR)
  • Mansour Abdullah, pupil of the temporary school in Al-Fawar village. (Still from video by IWPR)
    Mansour Abdullah, pupil of the temporary school in Al-Fawar village. (Still from video by IWPR)
  • Ahmed Al-Shaibani, journalist and human rights activist who worked on the Al-Fawar village campaign. (Still from video by IWPR)
    Ahmed Al-Shaibani, journalist and human rights activist who worked on the Al-Fawar village campaign. (Still from video by IWPR)
  • Nawras, member of the education committee of Al-Diwaniyeh district council. (Still from video by IWPR)
    Nawras, member of the education committee of Al-Diwaniyeh district council. (Still from video by IWPR)
  • Haider Al-Mayahi, a teacher also worked on the campaign in Al-Fawar village. (Still from video by IWPR)
    Haider Al-Mayahi, a teacher also worked on the campaign in Al-Fawar village. (Still from video by IWPR)

Manar Al-Zybaidi was trained by IWPR in August 2016 on campaigning and advocacy as a part of the Baladna Tariqna project.

She came up with an idea for a campaign to improve negative attitudes towards Iraq’s gypsy community.

In Al-Fawar village in Al-Diwaniyeh governorate, 180 km south of Baghdad, some 400 gypsies were living in dire conditions amid discrimination, isolation and persecution. The village had been without a school since 2003.

In early 2017, supported by IWPR, Manar mobilised a team of volunteers to teach 75 children basic literacy so as to enable them to enter mainstream schools. UNICEF also decided to support Manar’s initiative.