The Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq

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The Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq
FormationJune 2015
FounderSteve Maman[1]
FocusAnti-sex slavery,
Combatting human trafficking
LeaderSteve Maman

The Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq or CYCI foundation is a Canadian non-profit organization that aims to free Christian and Yazidi women captured and forced into sex slavery by ISIS.[2][3]


In 2014, Steve Maman connected with negotiators in Baghdad, Iraq to build a network to rescue Yazidi and Christian women and girls sold into sexual servitude by ISIS.[1][4][5] Maman founded the Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq in June 2015.[6] Maman often visited Morocco and Iraq to purchase vintage cars to bring them back for his classic car dealership based in Montreal.[7] During this time, he made contacts that would go on to help build his network of brokers within the ISIS-controlled areas.[7]

In June 2015, Maman founded the CYCI foundation with a team of negotiators in Iraq who would rescue the girls by paying brokers.[1][8] The foundation started raising funds for their operations through volunteer donations and a GoFundMe account.[7][1] Maman currently serves as the president of the foundation.

In August 2015, Gill Rosenberg, the first female foreigner to join YPJ forces fighting ISIS joined the organization as a volunteer.[9]


The CYCI foundations is primarily involved in negotiating with brokers in ISIS controlled territories for the release of captured Yazidi women and girls.[1] The organization releases funds to their members based in Iraq who pay brokers for releasing the women.[10] The organization first takes the rescued women and girls internally displaced persons camp in Kurdistan and later makes efforts to re-unite them with their families.[11] CYCI raises funds through donations made on the official website and through crowdfunding portals including GoFundMe.[7][12] According to Maman, each rescue costs between $1000 and $3000.[11][13]


Members of the Yazidis community which includes Babasheikh Kherto Ismael, the Yazidi spiritual leader,[14] and those involved in outreach and humanitarian support dispute Maman's work and call for a greater transparency and oversight in the work with minority populations fleeing Iraq.[15]

Steve Maman[edit]

Steve Maman
Born (1973-03-01) March 1, 1973 (age 50)
Casablanca, Morocco
Occupation(s)Businessman, entrepreneur,
founder of the liberation of christian and yazidi children of iraq (cyci)

Steve Maman, (born March 1, 1973), is a Canadian businessman, entrepreneur, social worker, and the founder of the CYCI foundation.[6][11] Maman was born in Morocco on March 1, 1973, and was raised in Montreal, Canada where he became a vintage car dealer.[7][1] Maman is married and is a father of six.[11]

Maman has often mentioned Oskar Schindler as an inspiration for the organization in his interviews[4] and is often referred to as Jewish Schindler by news portals.[8][16][10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Jewish Schindler rescues Iraqi girls from slavery". Toronto Star. August 15, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  2. ^ "Canadian 'Schindler' saves Christians, Yezidis from ISIS". Rudaw. August 23, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  3. ^ "Canadian volunteers helping former ISIS slaves rescued by 'Jewish Schindler'". Global News. December 4, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Jewish Businessman Rescuing Yazidi and Christian Women from ISIS". Arutz Sheva. August 8, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  5. ^ "Montreal Businessman Says His Jewishness Stirred Efforts To Save Children From ISIS". The Jewish Week. August 25, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  6. ^ a b "One man's mission to free Yazidi women from ISIS". Fusion. January 28, 2016. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Steve Maman, the 'Jewish Schindler,' opens up on saving Yazidis". The Gazette. September 2, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Q&A STEVE MAMAN: 'JEWISH SCHINDLER' SAVES GIRLS FROM ISIS". Canadian Jewish News. August 21, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  9. ^ "The curious case of Gill Rosenberg". The Jerusalem Post. August 14, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  10. ^ a b "Steve Maman, the 'Jewish Schindler', working to rescue young women taken by ISIS as slaves". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. August 19, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  11. ^ a b c d "Montreal Jew frantically negotiates for release of IS's Yazidi sex slaves". The Times of Israel. August 19, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  12. ^ ""Jewish Schindler" Saves Hundreds of Christian Sex Slaves From ISIS". Vocativ. August 20, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  13. ^ "Canadian Man Dubbed 'Jewish Schindler' for Saving Yazidi Sex Slaves From ISIS". Haaretz. August 27, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  14. ^ "Yazidi Leaders Demand 'Jewish Schindler' Prove He Has Saved Lives". Haaretz. August 30, 2015. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
  15. ^ Browne, Rachel (August 26, 2015). "Yazidi Leaders Want Proof 'Jewish Schindler' Saved 128 Women and Children From the Islamic State". VICE News. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
  16. ^ "Montreal's 'Jewish Schindler' Rejects Accusations That He Is Doing More Harm Than Good". The Forward. September 4, 2015. Retrieved April 4, 2016.

External links[edit]