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In late 2013, Savina Dawood and several fellow Assyrian Christian activists founded The Etuti Institute* (“etuti” means “my existence” in Aramaic) to educate Assyrian Christians about their history, heritage, and historical identity in northern Iraq and throughout the region. With the invasion in June 2014 of Daesh (ISIS), however, the Etuti team immediately shifted its focus to aiding Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Now that Daesh is militarily pushed back, Etuti has shifted its focus again to helping IDPs return home.
One new understanding is that many services were destroyed by the terrorists. This includes grocery stores, where people could buy everything from water to food and cleaning supplies. Early in 2018 Etuti submitted a proposal to SWIC, to help a family clean, furnish, and open a new grocery to replace one they used to operate before Daesh’s destruction. The project proposal was approved, and thanks to many generous SWIC donors, the store has been established to serve a community near Qaraqosh. Customers include different faiths and all age groups. This heroic effort required coordination between numerous people, including the bank here in the U.S. and SWIC volunteers. This type of collaboration directly supports SWIC’s mission to “support, through friendship and material aid, the right of Christians and their communities in Iraq to survive and thrive.”
In the past, Etuti provided IDPs with various necessities such as food, water, shelter, medical care, feminine and infant hygiene products, and more. After working to supply basic human essentials, they realized the depth of the emotional and psychological trauma experienced by the IDPs, particularly among the children.
In response, Etutit shifted to focusing on the psychological needs of these traumatized children and youth. Etuti began designing programs and events to mentally, spiritually, and emotionally nourish these young people who had suffered through a terrifying humanitarian crisis. The goal was to reduce their understandable feelings of hopelessness and loss, and nurture a sense of optimism and hope within them. Etuti has been providing educational programs, sports teams and competitions, and Christmas celebrations including a gift-giving project titled “Little Smiles”, and today the Etuti Institute fully committed to continuing these future-looking, long-term development projects.
The Etuti Institute’s mission states:
Etuti Institute aims to bring children and youth together to build generations of new leaders within the community. Etuti will train the participants with leadership skills; will engage them in activities that demonstrate the importance of education, social responsibility, ethical behavior, and nationalistic development; and will create opportunities to continue their higher education, to establish career paths, and to ultimately fulfill their life’s dreams.
Stand With Iraqi Christians is pleased be in a working partnership the Etuti Institute and Savina Dawood (interviewed in Where Is Our Place?). SWIC is excited and committed to helping Etuti fulfill its mission through financial assistance and in spirit and prayer, to help raise up a new generation of leaders committed to a pluralistic, religiously tolerant and prosperous Iraq.
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