Giving young Syrians the chance to grow their skills

Giving young Syrians the chance to grow their skills


The refugee camp where Saihan lives is isolated and surrounded by dry, dusty fields. At 17-years-old, she is one of 244,000 Syrian Refugees currently living in Iraq. Many have moved to very remote camps like the one where Saihan lives. Employment opportunities are scarce in the camps.

Despite the odds, Saihan is determined to develop herself and not waste her time in the camp.

She attends school and recently joined a World Vision Permaculture Design Course. The aim of the course is to increase sustainable food production in the camp and provide young people and adults with new skills and employment opportunities.

“I joined the World Vision course because I like volunteering and developing myself,” Saihan says. “From this training we learnt a lot. I learnt how to test the water to make sure I could use it to water the plants. I tested the plants in different soil to see what they would grow in best."

“To test the quality of the soil, we put water and soil in a plastic bottle. The water stays in the bottom and the soil in the top. I insert a rope through the soil to the water. If the soil takes water up through the rope then it is good for planting, if it doesn’t take the water then we shouldn't use it."

“They taught us how to test the difference between good and bad seeds. When you put seeds in water, the good seeds sink to the bottom and the bad seeds float to the top because they're dead.” 

Saihan is now putting into practice what she’s learnt and grows food in the small garden in front of her house. “We grew sunflowers and vegetables such as potatoes and tomatoes. Red tomatoes were the most successful, and eggplants,” she explains. 

“We have cooked dolma with the grape leaves. We have cooked the eggplant and the tomatoes. Even though it's a small bit of land, we can grow a lot from it. I will try to teach others what I have learnt. With different ideas we can make the area [in the camp] better.”

About our work in Iraq

World Vision’s livelihoods program provides vocational training, cash for work, permaculture training, local value chain development and business facilitation for Iraqis and Syrians living in camps in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. 

The aim of the program is to build the skills of young people and adults to give them the opportunity to start small businesses or increase their employment opportunities. The permaculture training is also designed to increase sustainable food production in the camps.