There are currently over 280,000 refugees and asylum seekers in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and over 1 million Iraqis remain internally displaced by war and persecution.

Help us bring hope, connection and belonging to displaced people

We urgently need your support to:

🍋 Create more community gardens and green spaces, bringing fresh food and flowers to displaced people

🍋 Keep our gardens in Kurdistan Region of Iraq maintained

Please help today and any donation you make will be matched

Our Azadi Community Garden

Since 2016, Azadi, our flagship garden in Domiz 1 camp in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, has been a busy hub of gardening activity, welcoming more than 50 women and their children every day. As well as tending to vegetables and herbs, Azadi is a place to learn new skills and a safe space to meet and socialise.

Earlier this year, we took up an exciting opportunity to expand Azadi to cover an additional 864 square metres. This doubles the number of raised beds from 50 to 100, ensuring that hundreds more displaced people living in Domiz 1 have access to fresh food.  

As well as boosting food security, the increase in gardening provision helps to improve people’s physical and mental health.

A variety of vegetable and herb seeds will be on offer to our new gardeners so they can choose their family’s favourites to grow, harvest and cook with at home. We plan to open our new garden space in July and we have lots of families ready to begin using the garden.

Please make a donation to help us run the newly expanded Azadi Community Garden and our other gardens in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq – bringing fresh food and flowers to hundreds of displaced people 🌿

All donations will be matched – please donate today and double your impact  

Salwa in the Azadi Community Garden in Domiz 1 camp

Salwa’s story: Finding solace in the garden

Gardening has always held a special place in Salwa’s heart, tracing back to her childhood in Aleppo, Syria, where she witnessed the beauty of home gardens and developed a passion for cultivating roses and gardenias.

At her family home in Al Hasakah, Syria, Salwa and her husband, nurtured their own small garden, adorned with flowers, a lemon tree, an apricot tree, aloe vera and beloved gardenias and roses. Not only did Salwa appreciate the aesthetic appeal of flowers, she also incorporated their essence into her culinary creations. Lemon balm became a staple in her cooking, infusing dishes with its refreshing flavour and aroma.

In 2001, Salwa’s husband sadly passed away after a long battle with cancer. This meant that Salwa became the sole caregiver for their five children, leaving little time for social activities or hobbies, like gardening.

A few years later Salwa fled war-torn Syria with her son, his wife and their children, arriving in Domiz 1 camp in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Staying in the camp and trying to earn enough money to live and provide food for herself and for her family has been tough.

Fortunately, Salwa learned about Lemon Tree Trust through one of our facilitators. Along with with being able to access the rest of the community garden, she will soon have her own raised bed in the newly extended Azadi Community Garden. It feels like a lifeline – to meet her daily food requirements where she can cultivate crops such as radish, parsley and onion, and connect with other like-minded women.

Despite the hardships she has faced, Salwa has embraced opportunities in her new home in Domiz. Her unfaltering green thumb has given her confidence and serves as a reminder of her resilience.

Salwa sees her regular visits to the Azadi Community Garden as a catalyst for positive change in her daily life. Engaging in gardening – the activity she loves most – brings her inner peace and fulfillment and the community bread oven, provides her family with an extra source of sustenance.

Salwa is looking forward to her grandchildren helping her in her new space in the garden. They already enjoy watching the menagerie of rabbits, ducks and chickens, and reading picture books in the library lounge. Salwa wants to pass on all her knowledge so they too can successfully grow food and flowers and enjoy gardening like she does.

Salwa’s journey is testament to the transformative power of cultivating hope and finding beauty even in the most challenging circumstances. 

Can you help us bring community gardens to more people like Salwa?

Doubling your impact  

All donations between 16 June-1 September 2023 are being kindly match funded by one of our most generous supporters. So, if you make a donation of £50 / $62, it will be automatically matched with another £50 / $62, meaning that your gift will total £100 / $125 and could help provide a new raised gardening bed that can supply a family with fresh food throughout the year. 

How to get your donation matched

You don’t have to do a thing. Just make a donation via JustGiving. Once our appeal closes, we’ll add up all the donations and invite our donor to fund match the total up to £40,000 / $50,000.

How your donation will help  

  • £20 GBP / $25 USD could provide seeds and seedlings for a family to start a raised gardening bed to produce food and flowers
  • £50 GBP / $62 USD could help provide plumbing, electricity and maintenance of a community garden
  • £100 GBP / $125 USD could help provide a new raised gardening bed that can supply a family with fresh food throughout the year
  • £200 GBP / $250 USD could help provide an LTT Camp Co-ordinator to help with distributing seeds, plants and trees to displaced people
  • £1,000 GBP / $1,255 USD could help create a new garden providing an area of green space where community members recovering from trauma can spend time tending a garden, planting seeds and re-connecting with nature

Double your impact: All donations will be matched

Why community gardens? 

Community gardens help restore hope, bring beauty and build community. The simple act of gardening is a powerful tool in helping people to overcome trauma and improve mental health. 

They also significantly contribute to the local and wider environment of urban camps, bringing much-needed shade, soil improvement and greenery. And often they become the ‘hub’ for wider camp activity as they are often used as meeting spaces for other groups and NGOs operating in the camp. ​ 

Woman and children in community garden

In a Lemon Tree Trust community garden, you will find:  

✅ Marked beds for women and their families to grow food and flowers for their families and neighbours​

✅ Covered seating area for meeting and socialising with facilities to take tea​ 

✅ Small livestock area – rabbits and chickens – for meat and eggs (fed on garden scraps and grain)​ 

✅ Community bread oven​ 

✅ Covered hoop houses (nursery area) for growing tender vegetables, roses and bringing on seedlings for community distribution​ 

✅ Herbal tea ingredients growing area 

All donations will be matched – please donate today and double your impact 

Lemon Tree Trust’s impact in 2022

More than 100 people regularly accessed raised beds in the Azadi Community Garden to grow vegetable, herbs and other crops.

Over 2,000 kilograms of vegetables were cultivated in the Azadi Community Garden and distributed to vulnerable families in Domiz 1 camp. 

More than 1,000 people received roses, other flowering plants, trees and seedlings, many of which were grown from seed in Azadi.

Help us double our impact in 2023


RHS Chelsea Repurposed designed by Darryl Moore of Cityscapes We are thrilled that elements from our 2018 RHS Chelsea show garden are being used in the new ‘repurposed’ feature garden at this year’s flower show. RHS Chelsea Repurposed will bring together elements from several show gardens dating back as far as 2010 to highlight creative … Continued

Thank you to illustrator Linda Combi for supporting Lemon Tree Trust again in 2024. Earlier this year, Linda held an exhibition, ‘52 Postcards on the theme of Oasis’, at the Pyramid Gallery in York, UK. Proceeds from gallery and online sales during this time have been divided between Lemon Tree Trust and the UNHCR. Featured … Continued

Meet Othman Qewas: Lemon Tree Trust’s valued team member and Gawilan camp resident Our gardening activities in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq are run for and by local displaced people – with Othman Qewas, our Garden Coordinator in Gawilan camp * – being one such person.  Othman is a valued member of the Lemon Tree … Continued