If you ever come to Kurdistan, it will take you something like 30 seconds to meet a member of the Peshmerga. Or a mother of a Peshmerga soldier. Maybe a brother. Child. Spouse. If you fly into Erbil and head north to the mountains, you'll see "We Are All Peshmerga" affixed to the top of a gorge the same way "Hollywood" is atop a hill in Los Angeles. There is a national solidarity with the Peshmerga, and the hopes and dreams of the Kurdish people rest on the will and work of the soldiers who defend them.



Translated literally, "Peshmerga" means "those who face death." The sentiment within the phrase isn't anything like "those who face execution," but something much more befitting their bravery: those who stare every threat to their families and homes in the eye, and fight to the death if need be to guard them.

When ISIS invaded Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan in 2014, the Peshmerga pushed back. The Islamic State didn't expand as far as it would have liked to, because the Peshmerga held their borders and committed the next three years to regaining their territory. When we moved to Iraqi Kurdistan shortly after ISIS' invasion, all of our neighbors were Peshmerga (or related to someone who was), so as we looked for meaningful and redemptive ways to serve our neighbors, we found that for all the Peshmerga face, sky-high death tolls and casualty rates were some of the most treacherous. These men and women defend their families and territories with all they have—and without sufficient medical care or training. Battalions and units were heading to the front line to fight jihadi militants without medics to keep them alive in the line of fire, and ISIS took more lives than they would have if the Peshmerga had been properly trained and equipped.

We documented our work with the Peshmerga in the Mosul offensive
in a full-length film, 
Better Friends Than Mountains, Vol. II



We did not establish a division of FAI Relief in Kurdistan because we were looking for a military to work with, per se. We moved to Kurdistan to meet incredible medical and humanitarian needs, because we cherish life and want to nurture it, and quickly realized our neighbors were dying at war against ISIS simply because they lacked basic casualty care and medical training. We began working with the Peshmerga during the Mosul offensive, and launched a Combat Medic Training Course (CMTC) afterwards to equip them to keep themselves and their comrades alive in future firefights.



The FAI Relief CMTC trains battalions of Peshmerga soldiers, one unit at a time. In our courses, soldiers learn wound management, evacuation strategies, and critical casualty care. Upon graduation, every solder is given a medic pack to take with them on the field.




We offer this course free to the Peshmerga; put simply, if they could afford medical training and supplies, they would already have it. We are grateful for their work to stamp out the expansion of the Islamic State, and this is a means by which we can return the favor. Our monthly operational costs to run the CMTC are $5,000. This comes out to roughly $200 for every participating soldier of the dozens we train each month.

We're inviting you to join us as we preserve and nurture life in Kurdistan. Consider "adopting" the Peshmerga, and sponsor 1, 3, or 5 soldiers a month. All contributions are tax-deductible in the US. Simply designate your financial contribution to "Peshmerga," and it will help us continue to offer this life-saving course to the men, women, and families who have faced so much and lost so many. 


  • Sponsor 1 soldier every month for $200/mo
  • Sponsor 3 soldiers every month for $600/mo
  • Sponsor 5 soldiers every month for $1,000/mo

Monthly sponsorships, or "adoptions" of anonymous Peshmerga soldiers, pays for their course and supplies. Our FAI Relief personnel serve as volunteers who raise personal support and do not collect a salary. This keeps our overhead costs low, allowing for all funds contributed to go directly to our relief programs and initiatives.