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.

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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.

As coronavirus sweeps the globe, IWPR’s network of local reporters, activists and analysts are examining the economic, social and political impact of this era-defining pandemic.

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