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Fargo based nonprofit travels to Iraq, helping those whom ISIS forced out, return home

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FARGO—A Fargo based nonprofit has returned from helping families return to their war-torn cities in Iraq.

UNSEEN's goal is to partner with existing charities "in-country" helping those groups already doing good work do even more.

In its six years, Fargo teams from UNSEEN have traveled the world to work with others to stop human trafficking.

Its most recent trip to Iraq proved to be historic and emotional.

Melanie Iverson of Fargo doesn't take your typical summer vacation.

Instead of Mt. Rushmore or Disney, she travels to the world's hot spots.

Most recently, as part of Fargo's non profit, Unseen, she and others went to Iraq, to work with another charity based there, assisting those trying to get back home, after ISIS forced them out.

"It is really empowering and equipping the leaders on the ground in this communities to do what they think is best, with a little guidance," said Iverson.

Melanie recalled the story of one family of men, car mechanics, who wanted to get back to their village.

"Almost a ghost town, no one there," said Iverson.

To restart their business they got a microloan to get up and running in the war torn village, it was a start.

"Within an hour of us arriving, they had their first customer. It did not make sense why we would document mechanics, but in a high conflict area like this, everyone needs their car fixed to it made sense to start with a mechanic shop," said Iverson.

Even as they worked to get families back to the village ISIS destroyed, the shadow of that evil returned.

"We were going through the houses and details of their lives when a truck full of ISIS arrived and the militia guarding us took care of ISIS soldiers, and those ISIS soldiers were starting the homes on fire again," said Iverson.

It was tough, while ISIS destroyed some homes, Melanie met families that found ISIS had used their homes to rape young girls.

How could they live there, now and at times, the simple stories often made the most impact.

"It was somber and one of the women found her wedding dress, beautiful, and she showed her whole family and there was this pain. do i keep it or throw it," said Iverson.

For Melanie, this has become more than just work, she realizes this is what she has been called to do.

"I had no idea what i was applying for but i filled a resume and told them my story of failed adoptions and i said, for some reason that wasn't supposed to be part of my story and I think God will redeem that and I can help Unseen rescue thosuands of orphans who will never have a mom," said Iverson.

The Fargo based Unseen has traveled the globe, assisting partners that are battling human trafficking.

For more information, click here

Kevin Wallevand

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia and the Middle East. He is an Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

(701) 241-5317
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