Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights

With the Project:
The Healing Garden: Preservation of Resources and Sustainable Planning in a Post-Conflict Setting

In 2015, the Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights built a healing garden in the city of Chamchamal in Iraq to provide a garden and animal-assisted therapy for traumatised persons. The garden enabled the foundation to revitalise traditional building designs and techniques, introducing green technology solutions such as wastewater treatment, biogas, and solar energy generation, and to educate people about environmental stewardship. The garden also operates a Decentralised Wastewater Treatment Plant (DEWATS) with a capacity of processing 100 m3 of greywater per day, as well as a biogas plant that recycles animal waste into gas and fertiliser.


The sanctions imposed on Iraq in the 1990s affected the city Chamchamal as it received very little food items or other supplies which in turn led to the weakening of its economy. Most families were therefore affected by trauma and consequently inter-generational traumatisation (a traumatic event that began years prior to the current generation), which severely affected the children and youth from the region. Until today, the region suffers from a high unemployment rate and high numbers of homicides making Chamchamal one of the poorest areas of Northern Iraq.


To solve the problem, the Jiyan Foundation created a garden that serves to promote environmental awareness, showcases sustainable and energy-efficient architecture. The garden also demonstrates the value of green technologies used to recycle water and produce energy from renewable sources. Today, the garden grows more than 5,000 trees species, including several kinds of fruit trees while flower beds have been cultivated for garden therapy, and various animals have settled in the stables.


The decentralised wastewater treatment plant is a first step to produce useable water for the plants and animals in the garden without tapping into the declining freshwater sources. The use of locally available wastewater further reduces energy consumption by making the pumping of groundwater redundant. This process functions without an external energy supply and is able to process 100 m³ greywater per day. The garden also enables the survivors of human rights abuses and victims of domestic violence to receive specialised mental health care which will reduce the symptoms of their trauma-related illnesses.


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