Since August 2014, the Christian neighbourhood of Ankawa in Erbil welcomes the majority of displaced Christians from the Nineveh plains. Forced to flee in 24 hours, families must leave everything behind. The Iraqi Kurdistan and non-governmental agencies were quickly overwhelmed by the scale of needs, especially for children's education. Despite the opening of several schools, the situation remains critical for populations who are in despair and who find it difficult to foresee a future in the Middle East. Overcrowded schools, lack of space, difficult school transportation, are the burden of the 8000 displaced families in Ankawa. In this context, and to restore a future to Christians in the Middle East, the association has built the Holy-Benham-and-Sara school in Ankawa.

The Holy-Benham-and-Sara school permits the schooling of refugee children who do not yet have access to education. It also hosts children who are already in school but are facing difficulties with transport and finance. The school is totally free for displaced children: no registration or operation fees are required for families. The school material is provided by SOS Chrétiens d’Orient. The program included in the arabic curriculum allows the recognition of diplomas by the government of Baghdad. Classes are held by teachers recruited from the displaced people of the Ninevah plains.

Progress on the construction site:

End of February 2015 ==> Cleaning of the land, upgrading and laying foundations for prefabricated buildings.

March 2015 ==> Installation of prefabricated buildings. In a week, the entire educational structure was installed. The construction of the school continues with the laying of a fence as well as sanitary and septic tanks. The big work ended with the installation of a 5000 litre water tank and the painting of prefabricated buildings on 6 March.

During the last days of the project, volunteers added to the project, in connection with the school director, and together they installed the supplies (140 offices, 9 white boards) to allow for a quick relaunch in the best conditions.

On April 25, 2015, the school that now has 600 students was blessed by Monsignor Yohanna Petros Mushé, Archbishop Syriac of Mosul, in the presence of Mr. Alain Guépratte, consul general of France in Erbil. Many members of the Iraqi clergy and two French clerics were present alongside representatives of the Kurdish autonomous regional government and the Iraqi Central Government.



Volunteering is a commitment for a defined period. The volunteer is committed to a mission to serve others. To volunteer at SOS Chrétiens d’Orient you must:

- be older than 18 years old

- stay for a minimum for 1 month

- being in good physical shape

- have parental agreement for a possible departure

"I ask you to be revolutionary. Have the courage to go to counter-current. And also have the courage to be happy!" Pope Francis, July 28, speech to the volunteers of the WYD, Rio de Janeiro.

"I ask you to be revolutionaries. Have the courage to go against the grain. And have the courage to be happy!"

Pope Francis,

July 28, speech to WYD volunteers, Rio de Janeiro.