Catholic Church Teufen Bühler Stein in Switzerland, an Active Humanitarian Actor in KRI

By: Ueli Schleuniger, operational project manager of the Catholic Church Teufen Bühler Stein in Switzerland


Since February 2016, the Catholic Church Teufen Bühler Stein in Switzerland is engaged in humanitarian work in Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). Thanks to generous donors, we were able to provide help in nearly every area of everyday life to improve living conditions of the refugees and IDPs in the camps around Duhok, Erbil and the Sindjar region. Head of mission is Stefan Staub (three trips to KRI), Ueli Schleuniger (ten trips) is operational project manager on site.

We have experienced high professionality in the camps which BCF manages. In addition, the magnificent assistance provided by the people in the camps helping to prepare distributions must be mentioned.

We have experienced many moments of thankfulness and happiness: Sparking eyes and laughter from children after receiving a toy, a timid smile of thankfulness from a mother after receiving diapers for her baby or body care product for herself. On the other hand, it is painful to watch people line up to receive food. The dependence on food donations must be very humiliating since providing food is a basic task for every caring father and loving husband.

One of the most important aspects of everyday life in the camps is security and the fact that BCF personnel is on site. At least someone will keep harm away from the camp inhabitants and a highly motivated crew helps to manage everyday life.

After meeting children, you realize that youths have grown up only looking through a fence. If the international community does not undertake appropriate measures, the camps’ children generation is the breeding ground for new conflicts in the KRI region.

What keeps us going: We are convinced that we give hope to the refugees and IDPs and that someone far away is thinking of them and helping as much as we can. We must never let hope die, no hope is the first step dying.