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Article: Strong Voice Interview #36: Düzen Tekkal

Strong Voice Interview #36: Düzen Tekkal

In this exclusive interview, we delve into the remarkable journey of Düzen Tekkal, a trailblazer in the realms of journalism, human rights activism, and social entrepreneurship. From her experiences as a war correspondent to her founding of HÁ and GermanDream, Düzen shares insights into her extraordinary path and the driving forces behind her impactful work.

"Sisterhood means empowering and inspiring each other. It is a force that strengthens us and helps us to effect greater changes together."
Düzen Tekkal

 Düzen Tekkal

Photo: Sebastian Schramm

You were originally a journalist and then worked as a war correspondent. In 2015, you founded HÁ, and in 2019, GermanDream - how did you come to that?

When I traveled to Iraq back then, I became an involuntary chronicler of the genocide against my religious community, the Yazidis. In 2015, I co-founded HÁ with my sisters, a human rights organization and our international response to genocide, wars, and dehumanization. Today, we have projects in Germany, Iraq, Afghanistan, and support the freedom movement in Iran through our political sponsorship project. I founded the educational organization GermanDream in 2018 as a counter-draft to GermanAngst, division dynamics, and extremism in Germany. It's about showing that we are a country of opportunities and hope and must not leave the wrong people in charge.

On social media, we occasionally get insights into the resistances you face - hostility, threats, and hate speech are unfortunately not uncommon on your path. How do you deal with it and still keep going?

Due to my clear stance against racism, antisemitism, and misanthropy, I increasingly become the target of hostility and threats. I refuse to be intimidated and will continue to stand up against all forms of misanthropy. What makes me strong and drives me to keep going is my purpose because I am passionate about our issues and the vision of a better future for all of us. In times of division dynamics and global crises, we must continue to be vocal because we must not leave the field to extremists and populists.

From the collection for International Women's Day 2024, 10% of the proceeds will be donated to HÁ Can you already say what impact you want to achieve through this donation in your projects?

With our international projects, we advocate for women's rights worldwide. We implement both development and educational programs in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Germany, as well as international awareness-raising and educational initiatives and political work - including the revolution in Iran. Our human rights organization stands for the endeavor to create a world in which every person, regardless of gender, origin, or belief, can self-determine and unfold in safety. This work would not be possible without our supporters and donations. Therefore, we are very pleased that a portion of the proceeds will benefit our human rights projects, empowering women and girls worldwide.

The collection is under the motto SISTERHOOD, which is also stamped on all products. What do you understand by SISTERHOOD? How can each of us live it?

Sisterhood is one of the core identities of our human rights organization. Because from our pain, the genocide against our religious community, our current projects emerged. For me, sisterhood means a deep connection and solidarity among women that goes beyond family ties. It's about support, empathy, and mutual growth. Sisterhood means empowering and inspiring each other. It is a force that strengthens us and helps us to effect greater changes together.

What changes do you wish for by the next International Women's Day and what needs to be done for that?

We still have a long way to go until gender equality. I am convinced that women's freedom rights are to be advocated globally and do not end at our national borders. In Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and other crisis areas, women are fighting for their right to self-determination, education, and the right to life. In this struggle, we must support them because women's rights are universal and non-negotiable.


Düzen Tekkal is a political scientist, social entrepreneur, war correspondent, filmmaker, founder, journalist, and author. For her documentary Háwar - My Journey into Genocide, she traveled multiple times to Iraq and documented the genocide against the Yazidis there. Düzen Tekkal learned to network and engage as a child: she grew up with ten siblings in a Kurdish-Yazidi family that fled Turkey in the 1960s. Together with her sisters, she founded the human rights organization HÁ, with which she launched various international, multireligious, and multiethnic projects. In 2019, she founded the educational initiative GermanDream to inspire students for the liberal-democratic basic order. In 2021, she was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit by the Federal President.

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