1st NAEF solutions concept for addressing the care, recovery, and reintegration of male, youth victims in conflict and near conflict areas.

Who are the Lost Boys?

  • Male youths between the ages of 5 and 16 years

  • They are the sons of tortured and murdered fathers

  • They are the sons and brothers of captured, raped and traded mothers and sisters

  • They are the sons and brothers who have been beaten, tortured and abused

  • They are children who bear massive traumas and they are in pain

  • Yezidi religious affiliation, and believed by the Islamic State to be slaves

  One of the lost boys seen with Hollie McKay during Canada Cares Assessment 2016

One of the lost boys seen with Hollie McKay during Canada Cares Assessment 2016

What happened to them?

The lost boys were children, were ripped away from their childhood.

Many of them were forced to witness the murders of their family and people, including the rapes of their mothers and sisters during the Yezidi Genocide of 2014.

They were tortured, raped and abused by their captors.

Forced to convert to violent and radical interpretations of Islam

Forced to undergo militia training in weapons, hand-to-hand combat and tactics

Forced to use their training to commit heinous murders and crimes against others, or worse, their own family members

They were indoctrinated to be warriors, loyal to the Islamic State above all else.

  Image captured from Islamic State propaganda video release

Image captured from Islamic State propaganda video release

When and where did this happen?

The siege of Mount Sinjar by the Islamic State occurred in 2014. As the monstrosities committed by the group shook Iraq, Syria, and the world, ISIS made one major violent push to specifically target and wipe out the Yezidi population of Sinjar.

First, the violent extremist group went onto slaughter the lives of many Yezidi men, women and children in the lowlands of their town before forcing the Yezidi residents to flee into the mountain of Sinjar where inhabitants would have no choice but to starve and die of dehydration.

While certain aid cargos were dropped atop the mountain to aid those who initially escaped, many people were later killed by the Islamic State trying to escape from the mountain.


The care gap

First, we recognized the dire need to help all victims of Islamic State crimes and heinous treatment.

Rightly so, much of the International Community is focused on the very real, critical needs of specific gender segments of the population, including the health and security of women and girls in the context of Islamic State horrors. The 1st NAEF also witnessed that while so much good was being contributed to female and child victims, rescued and found male youths/adolescents have received minimal to virtually no care. They have been forgotten and neglected, and are poised to truly become the “lost” of their generation.



Working through established relationships with Yezidi community leaders, in autumn of 2016, the 1st NAEF undertook a phase 1 process to form an initial solutions concept:

  • Conduct of targeting analysis within Kurdistan – Conducted concurrent to “Canada Cares” project.

  • Selections of focused target group (male youths ages 6-16) Establishment of relationships with members of the target group

  • Initial mapping of radicalization exposure methods used against the target group

  • Initial mapping of other potential impacting factors

  • Initial mapping of potential impacts on other current and future programs (PVE/CVE/women and girls)

  • Defined scope, methodologies and program potentials

  • Defined intersections and potential alignment with other civil-development programs for the Yezidi community from the 1st NAEF


Recommended Actions and Programs
Our goals for this project are twofold:

1. To advocate for, and enable the healing process of Yezidi youths so they recover from the wounds of indoctrination and radicalization in order to live full, peaceful and happy lives.

2. We will be using the best practices in the fields of clinical psychology, somatic transformation and counter violent extremism methods to protect youth, while drawing on project information and data to also better inform current and future research into youth de-radicalization programs the world over.

Services will include:

• Psychological and medical care (including de-radicalization)
• Education and knowledge building
• Community reintegration
• Community volunteer experiences
• Global peer engagement
• Leadership development


Requirements to succeed

There are two primary requirements for success:

  1. Adequate financial support to launch immediate solutions programming in Kurdistan – including a safety and security measures package for patients and staff.

  2. Adequate support from global bodies and nations to act on this critical aid gap.

What happens if we don’t help the lost boys

We must remember:

  • They have suffered the worst torture and abuse imaginable

  • They have been conditioned and trained to commit violence

  • They have been indoctrinated to hate

The consequences of failing to help should be clear.

Without help, within 5 to 10 years, we will be fighting them - as they become the violent perpetrators of the next generation.