Winners announced in our 2019 Garden Competitions

We’re thrilled to announce the winners of the 2019 Lemon Tree Trust annual garden competitions in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). Competitions took place in a record seven refugee and IDP (Internally Displaced People) camps this year, with nearly 1,500 gardens in the running for prizes. A combination of cash prizes and gifts of seeds and plants, with certificates for all the winners, were awarded at celebrations in every camp. 

Stephanie Hunt with one of the 2019 garden competition entrants in Gawillan camp

The Lemon Tree Trust Founder and CEO, Stephanie Hunt (pictured above), helped judge some of the competitions last month. She said:

“I continue to be inspired by the creativity and ingenuity of people living in situations of forced migration. Their love of plants and gardening and their keen desire to bring beauty to their surroundings is what drives us at the Lemon Tree Trust. I loved visiting some of the winning gardens this year and look forward to watching them continue to grow and flourish over the coming months.”

We first ran a garden competition in Domiz camp in the KRI in 2016, which attracted 50 entries. In every year since, more gardeners have entered and following their success, we’re now going to hold competitions twice a year – once in the spring and again in the autumn to celebrate the harvest. In addition, we will award a regular ‘gardener of the month’ prize to celebrate the ongoing passion and work that people invest in their home gardens. 

Ibrahim Jarado (pictured above), first prize winner in Khanki IDP camp, said:

“This is the first time I have participated in a competition like this. I did not imagine that the competition would be so strong, so I did my best to be one of the first and I wish to participate again in Khanki camp next year.”  

Aveen Ibrahem, Lemon Tree Trust Community Outreach Manager, pictured with Subhi Batal, winner in Domiz 2 camp and overall garden competition winner 2019.

The garden competitions are coordinated by Aveen Ibrahem, our Community Outreach Manager who lives in Domiz camp. Aveen, pictured above with the 2019 overall competition winner, says

“This is the fourth year I have helped with the competitions supported by a great team. Each year has a special beauty and this year was one of the best, despite the difficulties the gardeners face and the many challenges we have here. I hope that we can continue to expand and run competitions in more camps every year. Eventually, I want to include all the refugee and IDP camps in our work so that people who really need us can regain some hope and happiness. Thanks to all the LTT team!”

Over 7,000 plants and trees were grown and distributed by our team in Domiz as part of the competitions this spring. Furthermore, we gave people seeds to help them establish or improve their home gardens. The LTT Country Director in Iraq, Rody Sher, said:

“It was my first year working on the garden competitions and I can only say one word “amazing!” I couldn’t believe that our small LTT team could arrange such a big competition that brings hope and happiness to so many vulnerable people. We did it!”

The Lemon Tree Trust garden competitions are a great way for us to connect with people on the ground and identify other potential areas of work. Gardens create communities and by establishing community garden spaces within refugee and IDP camps the Lemon Tree Trust is empowering people, particularly women, to improve their environment and create opportunities for their families. This year’s third prize winner in Khanki camp, Saleh Mato, summed up the spirit of the competitions well. She said:

“The Lemon Tree Trust helped me plant a garden where I did not have a garden before. I entered the competition with weak potential, but the spirit of the competition made me work a lot …. and I thank the family of LTT and wish success for them in the future.”

Browse our winner’s gallery below to find out more about the winning gardens in this year’s competitions. You can support our work by making a donation online here or contact us to find out how you can help.

Domiz 1 camp winners 2019

Domiz 2 camp winners 2019

Essian camp winners 2019

Gawillan camp winners 2019

Kabartu 1 camp winners 2019

Kabartu 2 camp winners 2019

Khanki camp winners 2019


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