The “House of Artists”: a house for refugees in the Kurdistan region of Iraq

24 June 2018
Art is a universal language © 2018/UNFPA Iraq Photo
Art is a universal language © 2018/UNFPA Iraq Photo

Trauma generated by wars is often not confined to the battlefield. Refugees are negatively affected by the multiple displacements, loss of loved ones and properties and the instability which lead to a sense of helplessness and despair.  

In recent times, art has emerged as a valuable tool to help mitigate the sense of despair and integrate refugees into their new surroundings. It generates creativity which helps them overcome the emotional and social challenges of adjusting to the overwhelming and sudden change.

In Iraq, up to 250,000 Syrian refugees are hosted in nine camps in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Out of those, 35,000 found haven in Domiz camp. To help them cope with the difficulties and integrate into the social fabric of the Kurdish community, the Governor of the Region of Duhok inaugurated on 20 June [World Refugee Day], the “House of Artists” initiative as part of the Fil Manfa project.

Fil Manfa Project and the House of Artists, initiated and backed by UNFPA and the Roberto Cimetta Fund (RFC), offer young refugee artists a safe space to develop their talents and practice live or visual arts, dancing and music. Hundreds of adolescents and youth have so far benefitted from the project globally.

The inauguration was attended among others by Mr Farhad Ameen Atrushi, the Governor of the Region of Duhok; Mr Dominique Mas, the French Consul in Erbil; Mr Ferdinand Richard, the Chairman of the Roberto Cimetta Fund; Ms Siham Mamand, the Assistant Head of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Kurdistan Regional Government; and Mr Nestor Owomuhangi, the Deputy Representative of UNFPA to Iraq, in addition to a delegation from the Roberto Cimetta Fund and its partners.


UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, delivers a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

For more information or media inquiries please contact: Salwa Moussa, Communications Analyst,