The Sapna Valley, located in the north of Iraqi Kurdistan, cut into the sides of two mountain rangers, the Gara to the west and the Matina in the north, dominates the border with Turkey.

It is from Turkey that the Christians of this valley are came, when between 1895 and 1925, they had to take the path of exile to flee the Assyro-Chaldean genocide, orchestrated by Sultan Abdulhamid II; then, perpetuated by the "Young Turks" who had taken power to the head of the Ottoman Empire. This Jihad had found zealous auxiliaries among the Ottoman regiments, but also, the kurdish militias.

Today scattered in small mountain villages, these fragile Christian communities are trying to survive as they face challenges on many fronts: demographic shifts, adverse soil conditions, lack of access to water for their crops, lack of services and care, lack of economic and social perspectives, isolation and confusion in front of so much indifference.

Chief of the village of Badaresh

Here, the inhabitants of the Sapna Valley, are accustomed to live rough and simple life in their little rustic homes, with small orchards in their gardens. They won't complain about their past or their present fate. They turn to God to keep hope. This project, which offers them a future, strengthens them in their faith.

SOS Chrétiens d'Orient has been committed for many months on these several projects: access to water, electricity, restoration of habitats, chapels and churches, distribution of food and first aid, regular family visits and activities with the children. But all these projects would be pointless without a large scale project that serves the common good.

This is why in May 2017, the project "apples " was launched. After several months of prospecting and selection, it became obvious that only an agricultural project could encourage the inhabitants of the Sapna valley to invest in their future, herein their homeland.

Kurdish apples have long held a strong reputation since the middle of the sixties. The Iran-Iraq war, Kurdish conflicts, American intervention and the war against the Islamic State destroyed this renowned culture. Today, the apple supply to Iraqi markets comes mainly from Turkey.

The project carried out by the Mokhtar of the village of Badaresh and SOS Chrétiens d'Orient First, producers for the project are identified, selected for their ability to produce qualitative varieties of apples. A period of training which involves modules on crop size, maintenance and harvesting, a further period of monitoring and validating the orchards themselves takes place, thus documenting all possible data to improve the process apple production.

SOS Chrétiens d'Orient provides the producers with a refridgerated shed, where apples will be selected, washed, packaged and stored. This way, they can be resold, at the best time with our partners.

Indeed, the project we support does not stop there. We have found a great internationally renowned distributor who had a very attentive ear when he first heard about our project. This partner, who was in search of local producers for his supplies in Iraq, was immediately enthusiastic and came on board.

Today, the producers of apples in the Sapna Valley need your help to finance training, purchase equipment (forklifts, selection and washing chains, storage facilities etc). In short, so that this project, which has been in the planning for almost two years, can finally launch, we need you. We hope that this coming spring carries in it the hope to the Christians of the Sapna Valley.

A sorting chain costs 7000 euros

Wooden pallets cost 300 euros.

The maintenance of the electric generator for a year costs about 3000 euros.



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.