Overall, I’ve probably spent around three years working throughout Iraq and Kurdistan, however the one thought I’ve had looking back at that time always is – why didn’t I visit sooner?
As someone who studied Middle East Politics and Arabic (years and years ago now, I try not to think about it or I feel old….) interning or volunteering in Iraq and Kurdistan would have been perfect to supplement my studies.
Yet the thought never ran through my mind. Well, it’s maybe a little too late for me now, but in my years working in the country I came across many volunteer opportunities. And now I want to share them with you guys in the hope they will be of use.
Below are some of the best opportunities to volunteer in Kurdistan and Iraq, and if you know of any more do get in contact!
Volunteering with NGOs in Iraq and Kurdistan
Bring Hope works with IDPs in refugee camps in Kurdistan, carrying out a number of activities such as sports, and sewing initiatives. Do you have an idea for a project that could foster good mental health or community spirit?
Well if you do, and you can bring a skillset that will help make that project a reality, then Bring Hope will be happy to think seriously about starting up a new project with you at the helm. A fantastic organization doing amazing work – and a great opportunity to volunteer in Kurdistan.
Kurdistan – Save the Children
One of the biggest NGOs in the region, Kurdistan Save the Children carry out vital work with internally displaced children and refugees, as well as children with family problems. Volunteers can choose where they wish to work – be that with refugees or in a youth center for example – and there are a variety of projects to choose from that can match a volunteer’s skills and experiences.
With offices in all three major Iraqi Kurdish cities – Sulaymaniyah, Erbil and Dohuk – Rwanga is committed to providing accessible quality education to children throughout the region. Their vision, “A world where quality education is accessible for all,” is as important as the work they carry out.
If you share a similar passion for education then volunteering in Kurdistan with Rwanga could be an amazing experience.
This incredible NGO was founded in the aftermath of the genocide attempt by ISIS on the Yazidi population, that killed tens of thousands. Yazda works with the Yazidi community to assist their recovery and advocate on their behalf.
They have many volunteer and internship opportunities, including working directly with IDPs and the community, as well as research and awareness work. A really worthwhile opportunity to volunteer in Iraq.
Care about the environment? Well Nature Iraq does, and they want your help.
You can volunteer remotely in your home country (helping with language editing or translating), or you can volunteer in Iraq itself – which could involve being involved in river cleanups and the like.
Iraq is a beautiful country with an incredible landscape – any NGO looking to protect and keep it clean, is doing great work in my book.
Doctors Aid Medical Activities (DAMA)
Based in Erbil, DAMA are always on the lookout for volunteers who can help with the day to day running of their organization. You will need to speak three languages however – Arabic, Kurdish,and English – and be able to work under pressure.
Working with IDPs throughout the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, this is a fantastic opportunity to volunteer in Kurdistan and an amazing chance to do something really worthwhile.
Civil Development Organization (CDO)
Based in Sulaymaniyah, CDO’s mission is to “cultivate hope in Iraq.” The organization provides services to refugees and IDPs, as well as carrying out projects with particularly vulnerable members of the community such as women.
CDO advocates for the human rights of Iraq’s most vulnerable to ensure all voices are heard. A great option to consider if you wish to volunteer in Iraq and Kurdistan.