Discussion: Dilkhwaz Ahmed on Slavery in Iraq

Dilkhwaz Ahmed (Founder License to Freedom in San Diego) will give a presentation on her work in Iraq helping minority Yezidi women victims of Isis violence and slavery.

License to Freedom is a non-profit community based organization that promotes nonviolence through community education, self-sufficiency and advocacy for refugee and immigrant survivors of domestic and relationship abuse in the East County and San Diego region. L2F is the only program offering culturally and linguistically appropriate services in this context to populations in the San Diego area, including Iraqi, Iranian, Burmese, Afghani, Kurdish, Turkish, and African populations. Services include individual and family therapy, domestic violence group treatment, expressive art therapy and music therapy. Many of those served have experienced tremendous trauma prior to arriving here, including life in war zones, loss of family and friends, and/or torture. L2F is a group of advocates that believe that every person has a right to live without fear.

Biographical Sketch: Dilkhwaz Ahmed Executive Director License to Freedom, is a Kurdish women's rights activist from the Kurdistan region of Iraq. She received her degree in Psychology from Baghdad University and for four years directed the Nawa Center, a shelter for abused women in Sulaimanya, Iraq, where she helped victims of domestic violence. She participated in television shows produced for women, children, and teens. She coordinated a program in a women's jail, helping women adjust to life in jail and gain the skills necessary for survival, including how to protect oneself from rape, violence and other abuses.

In 2002 Ms. Ahmed was granted asylum in the United States, and resettled in San Diego. Her three children joined her in the United States three years later. In 2003 Ms. Ahmed founded License to Freedom 501c3 which has helped more than 1,500 adult female and child victims of domestic violence, including immigrants and refugees from the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Soviet Union. She has provided counseling, support, transportation, direct services (e.g. escorting victims to court), and interpretation. In 2010 Ms. Ahmed was reunited with her husband after nine years of visa-related separation.

As the voice of immigrant women, Ms. Ahmed grew License to Freedom to include initiatives such as the Community Dialogue for Change and conversations with Muslim faith leaders to develop their awareness of domestic violence. L2F began other programs including ESL (English as a second language) classes, financial literacy, drivers license education, women's support groups, yoga, and services that promote self-care and well-being. Ahmed is the only Domestic Violence Prevention Education provider who runs a 52 week domestic violence offender and Anger Management class for refugees and immigrants.

With her certification in Empowerment Drumming from Health Rhythm, Dilkhwaz is able to to facilitate a group of high risk individuals to release anger and maintain a healthy life style through the use of music and drumming. With her team at L2F, she has provided a safe space for women to meet, learn, develop respect for each other's differences, obtain education on women's rights, learn to work as a group, build trust and friendship, and have fun. A role model for people and communities everywhere, Ms. Ahmed has received numerous awards including the Women's International Center Living Legacy Award, Community Hero Award from the Domestic Violence Council in San Diego, and a Ruby Award from Soroptimist International of San Diego for being A Woman Helping Other Women.

Admission/Cost: FREE

Rancho Bernardo Library
17110 Bernardo Center Dr
San Diego, CA 92128

Thursday, June 2 - 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM