A displaced Yezidi woman promotes green space inside a Duhok camp

"It was then that I thought that we need to step up and change the environment, by surrounding the tents with green area," Khalida said.
author_image Kurmanj Nhili
Khalida Shamo , 28, waters her flowers at a Duhok camp. (Photo: Anadolu Agency)
Khalida Shamo , 28, waters her flowers at a Duhok camp. (Photo: Anadolu Agency)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A displaced Yezidi woman has turned outside her family’s displaced tent into a garden and has from there started promoting the idea to the rest of the camp.

The 28-years-old Khalida Shamo, who has been living in an internally displaced (IDP) camp in Duhok's Khanki since 2014, is originally from Sinjar.

The recent graduate of the Science of Psychology Department told Kurdistan 24 that she had started her efforts by planting a few flowers at first. 

Khalida Shamo, 28, gardening at a displaced camp in Duhok province. (Photo: Anadolu Agency)
Khalida Shamo, 28, gardening at a displaced camp in Duhok province. (Photo: Anadolu Agency)

When we first arrived at the camp eight years ago, it was very hot in summer and the electricity was in a bad shape; the tents were covered with dust and there was no place for the family to sit outside and rest in the fresh air, Khalida said. 

"It was then that I thought that we need to step up and change the environment, by surrounding the tents with green space," she said. 

"I started in March of 2018 and have continued through the summer, planting and irrigating the flowers. It was a hard thing to do in a camp but I never gave up," Khalida added.

After that, each year she tried to expand the green space. From a few types of flowers, she has now around 29 sorts of flowers in her garden, some of which had been gifted to her by her sister living in Germany. 

"Whenever I feel anxious inside the tent, I start tending the plants immediately, as the view and the smell helps me feel better," she said. 

Other displaced people inside the camp saw how green space can make a difference even inside a camp.

Khalida did not stop there. People were inspired and started turning to her for help and advice in successfully planting flowers and other small vegetation. 

An aerial photo of the small garden that Khalida Shamo has created inside a displaced camp. (Photo: Anadolu Agency)
An aerial photo of the small garden that Khalida Shamo has created inside a displaced camp. (Photo: Anadolu Agency)

Even NGOs noticed her efforts and helped the camp residents to get what they need in following Khalida’s footsteps in making small gardens.

"I ask all families to plant a tree or at least some flowers because that will create a positive vibe and make one psychologically more at peace," She said.

Khalida hopes that one day soon security situation improve in her hometown Sinjar, so they can return home where they can increase green space there once again.

Khalida Shamo, 28, gardening her small garden at a displaced camp in Duhok province. (Photo: Anadolu Agency)
Khalida Shamo, 28, gardening her small garden at a displaced camp in Duhok province. (Photo: Anadolu Agency)