The bridge


Our history

Our Bridge is a non-political and non-religious humanitarian aid organisation fighting for the shelter, guardianship and school education of orphans, semi-orphans and children with disabilities in the crisis regions of Northern Iraq.

The organisation is born out of the genocide of the Yazidis in August 2014. In the shadow of the night the murderers of the self-proclaimed Islamic State attacked the region Shingal in Northern Iraq. It’s home to the Yazidis, a religious minority, threatened in their very existence for centuries by Islamists. A rain of blood. The fathers and sons of the Yazidis were led onto market places and open fields and were murdered from behind. The mothers and daughters were abducted and forced on trucks going far into country, where enslavement awaited them. The black storm leaves behind a generation of traumatised orphans with no home, no guardian and no future.

In the ten-thousands were the Yazidi refugees reaching the safeguarded area on the shore of Mosul Lake in the weeks following the first day of the genocide. In UN refugee camps like Scharia, Xhanke and Zakho or left ruins and self-build tents the battered families settled to treat their hurt and their ill and wait for their missing family members to return. They were all coming from the mountains of Sindjar, where they had been hiding for days from the murderers of the Islamic State, but left without food or water were helplessly exposed to the unbearable 40 degree heat. Many of their family members died in their arms of hunger or thirst. In the eyes of the children had mirrored an image of suffering that no heart of a child overcomes unscathed.

The conditions and structures in the refugee camps benefited the strong and deserted the weak. Widows with young children and infants were left helplessly alone. Soon the capacities of the UN-camps were exhausted and the families, who didn’t make it in time, forced to find shelter outside in in-official camps. Their most enduring enemy weren’t black-hooded religion fighters anymore, but the merciless climate of the desert. On the unbearable heat of summer days followed a winter  with ice-cold winds. Dehydration, circulation collapse, cold and lung infection demanded more fatalities.

Born out of the distress of these children, Our Bridge is founded a few weeks after the genocide by a German-Kurdish students in Oldenburg. They intend to pull up a bridge to reach the children in time with the live-saving aid and to shine a light in their darkness.





The sponsorship program


To be godfather and protector to the children.

With the arrival of the refugees Our Bridge was also on site. Many families had lost not only their relatives, their homes and all their possessions, but also their identities. They simply couldn prove their identity. Led by Paruar Bako, founder and director of Our Bridge, our volunteers registered names and dates of birth of families with orphans, half-orphans and children with disabilities and issued them with an "Our Bridge Passport" which gave them access to a list for relief assistance. At the same time, Our Bridge launched its sponsorship programme in Germany, which gives people in Germany the chance to become godparents of one of the registered children and support them with a small monthly contribution. In addition, Our Bridge began to supply the households of registered children in the UN and unofficial camps with drinking water packages in the summer and radiators in the winter. In doing so, hundreds of livelihoods could be secured - step by step.


PatenschaftsprogrammOur Bridge founder Paruar Bako (25, l.) with the first children of the sponsorship programme (Image from 2017)

The sponsorship program is the foundation on which Our Bridge is built. We are raising a bridge that connects sponsors in Germany and Europe with children in need in Iraq.

Our Bridge e.V. is a registered non-profit association in Germany and a registered relief organisation in Iraq.

Become a godfather




Bridge builders



Our board

Jihan Shamo
Heads of education
Michael Erk
Second chairman
(Aspiring) Com. lawyer Haitham Hamid
Head of finance

M. Sc. Ali Akyol
Chairman of the board
David Ben Körzdörfer
Deputy head of the organisation

The six board members represent the club during their two-year term. A re-election is possible.



Paruar Bako
Founder and patron saint
Sozdar Coskun
Social media management
Paul Gerdes
Head of photography

Lisa Weller
Social media management
Meike Fieger
Deborah Büscher

The team of Our Bridge is put together of fully employed teachers, honorary positions and voluntary interns and helpers. Our Bridge currently employs more female than male co-workers.




Organisational Structure

10 members in Germany and 30 employees in Northern Iraq constitute the bridge of Our Bridge.




Press Review

Here is a compilation of public coverage of the work of Our Bridge.


Kölnschnack 12. Apr 2020
Development worker Paruar Bako is our person of the month
NWZ Online07. Oct 2021
Oldenburger is the youngest orphanage founder in the world
NWZ Online17. Jun 2021
An orphanage with school for Iraq
Jungle.world04. Mar 2021
Bring sandbags!
Blizz10. Oct 2020
'The suffering of the children moved us immeasurably'.
Mittelbayerische10. Oct 2020
New hope for war orphans in Iraq
Weser Kurier06. Oct 2020
Bike course for children
Stern30. Aug 2020
Student helps Yazidis in Iraq: 'The screams of the girls could be heard all the way to Germany'
Hamburger Klönschnack12. Apr 2020
Development worker Paruar Bako is our person of the month
Sueddeutsche Zeitung21. Nov 2019
An orphanage in a war zone
Bremissima.de31. Aug 2019 (Page 38)
deutschlandfunkkultur02. Aug 2019
One who set out to build an orphanage in northern Iraq
Children!04. May 2019
As we want to see it
Die Stiftung02. Feb 2019
The forgotten people
brennpunkt – Magazin für Fotografie01. Feb 2019
Kids, paint your dreams
WELT Online25. Oct 2018
„I try to hide my tears“
Enno Lenze08. Oct 2018
Just build an orphanage
Bild.de08. Dec 2017
Fateful photos from northern Iraq
backspin04. Sep 2017
Xatar opens orphanage in Iraq.
Dennis Rohde04. Apr 2017
Help orphans in northern Iraq with the Oldenburg Initiative
NWZ Online01. Aug 2016
Help in the rhythm of time
NWZ Online16. Jun 2016
Students want to give orphans a safe home
backspin19. Jan 2016
Rap benefit concert: the Babas are packing!
Osnabrücker Zeitung29. Oct 2014
Student from Osnabrück helps Jesuit refugees
Spiegel Online23. Oct 2014
Paruar's war
NWZ Online20. Oct 2014
Rapper and TV stars support Paruar Bako



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