Partner: UNHCR

UNHCR and Better Shelter

We have delivered shelters to Iraqi Kurdistan and to camps in the Baghdad area. These shelters house internally displaced persons from Iraq and refugees from Syria, of which many have been able to bring personal items and make the shelters their own.

Al Jamea’a Camp, Baghdad  – the Mohammed Family 
Sa’ad Mohammed, 27, his wife Yasmine, 27, with their 2 month old daughter Ritaj born two months premature. The couple also have an 8 year old daughter, Anssam, and a 6 year old son, Bassim.
Yasmine: “…The RHUs are a thousand times better than tents because they are more protected, more safe, and they give more privacy for me and my family. In the tents, we could not turn on the air cooler or heater but now, this shelter is more like a real house.” [The family’s unit is spotless, with toys and flowers decorating the ceiling; carpets and rugs on the walls; she says she even had the decorations up when they were living in a tent]…Full story


Al Jamea’a Camp, Baghdad – the Hameed family

The Hameed family, pictured with just two of their daughters: Malik, 5, and Hamsa, 9. Their mother Hind is 30 years old and their father Saffa, 34. There are 98 Better Shelter (RHUs) here, accommodating 115 families (several families sharing RHUs). The family left their home in Ramadi at the end of June 2014 and moved to 4 different places in the area, eventually leaving for Baghdad in April 2015. They built a small kitchen outside their Better Shelter.

Saffa: “The tents are like a piece of clothing and they would always move. We lived without any privacy. It was so difficult. If you compare life in the tents and now life in these shelters, it’s a thousand times better; there is no comparison. In the tent, we only had a small lamp…”
Hind: “Our children are still frightened of living in the camps because of the things we suffered. One daughter, Hamsa, is doing badly at school because of the trauma she went through and she has nightmares. We tried to send our other daughter, Malik, to kindergarten but she refuses to go and wants to stay with us at home. My dream is for us to return, to get back to our lives again. My daughters are beautiful and I hope they can have a better life, a better future, when they go back to Ramadi.” Full story

Al Jamea’a Camp, Baghdad – the Abdelraza family

Family: Hamid Abdelraza, 55, his wife Fatma Khdhair, 42, and their children Bilal, 7, Faride, 14, Mohammed 19, Marwa, 25 (married), Duaa, 22 (married), Rahama 19 (married). 

Hamid: “…Our house was 200 square meters, it’s a big house, with 6 rooms and all the facilities, built in a modern design. When we arrived in the camp, we were living in tents. It was so difficult. We were sweating constantly, day and night. I would try to use a fan to help Fatma, but she was feeling horrible. [UNHCR] provided us with air coolers and rechargeable fans but the weather this summer was just too harsh. The tent was just too small, with dust everywhere. We were so excited when we found out [about the RHU]. The RHU is a blessing from god for us in the desert. We are so grateful to UNHCR for providing us shelter. The low ceiling was the worst in the tent. During the summer it was very hot and you couldn’t move inside either. In the RHU, there is space to move unrestricted and we started to buy things to make ourselves feel at home, like a set of drawers and a TV. It provides us with more privacy. My wife and I sleep behind the curtain and my kids sleep on this side, in the main ‘room’. During the floods earlier this year, all the tents were damaged. But when we were flooded again at the end of October, the RHUs were not affected at all. The new shelters are better because they give us privacy, which is extremely important for our tribe’s values…”. 
Full story

Project Information

LocationErbil, Sulaymaniyah and Baghdad area
ImplementationAutumn 2015/ Spring 2016
Number of units3500
PurposeTemporary housing