Shelter Assistance for Refugees in Northern Iraq

The Problem: One of the most urgent priorities of the returning population in Erbil Governorate is their access to housing. Many of these families have lived in Iran for almost 20 years and then returned from 1998 to 2002, frequently under force from the Iranian Authorities.  Since 1998 the economic situation has remained so poor that no savings have been generated.  In turn, returnee families have faced the impossibility of building their own homes. 

The Solution: To reduce homelessness and increase community capacity in the Soran District of Northern Iraq, our team implemented a life-sustaining shelter intervention that utilized aims to fill the gap created in the repatriation and reintergration process of the returnees and enhance the construction skills of returnee communities. This involved the construction of functional, durable, starter homes; generating opportunities for community development and planning; and vocational and health awareness training.

The Impact: 140 returnee families (528 people) provided with starter homes; 50 community members provided short-term employment; 75 individuals provided vocational and health awareness training.

Funder: U.S. Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM)
Duration: 2006


Mustafa Omar, CEO

Mustafa Omar
Chief Executive Officer

Mustafa Omar has worked for Shelter For Life International in the field and Headquarters management positions; managing projects, leading new business development, and guiding operations around the world. Mr. Omar was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan and has worked in post-conflict reconstruction, Disaster Risk Reduction caused by human or natural phenomena, and market-revitalization efforts in Central Asia, East and West Africa, Europe, and Middle East for the past twenty (20) plus years. Mustafa holds graduate degrees in business administration and urban planning and is working on a PhD at the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University. Topics of research and professional interest include Market Resilience and Social Risk-Management, Influence of Environmental Degradation on Fragile Markets, Impact of Improving Physical Space on Lasting Peace, and the Interaction between Modern Governance and Informal Market Structures.

Gordon Wright
Vice Chairman

Gordon A. Wright is Founder and President of over 40 years with JIMI International and is an Elder at Tulsa Christian Fellowship. Mr. Wright owned and operated a lawn and tree service business for nearly 15 years. Mr. Wright also served with the US Army for three years in the 1960s.Two of Mr. Wright’s years were spent in South Korea as a Brigade Intelligence Sergeant. Mr. Wright has provided mentoring and counseling to spiritual leaders around the world; with specific attention to individuals in Russia, Ukraine and former Soviet Bloc countries. Mr. Wright helped to found and direct East/West Resources International and Global Assistance Partners International. Mr. Wright has served as one of the original founding board of directors for Shelter For Life International. Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, Gordon grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and currently resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma.