Nahida, age 9.
Displaced from Sinjar, Iraq, when she was five years old Nahida has spent the past four years living in a tent in the Bajad Kandala displacement camp in Iraqi Kurdistan with her mother and five siblings. Her father stayed behind in 2014 to fight ISIS and they have not heard from him since. The family hopes to be resettled to another country, but the process for resettlement is long and arduous and they have not received word of progress with their application in nearly a year. One day Nahida wishes to be a school teacher.
Ferman, which translates to “genocide” and his sister Madrid play while I interview their mother, Nadine, in the family’s tent within the Bajed Kandala Yazidi Displacement Camp near the Iraqi-Syrian border.
Nadine was pregnant when she and thousands of others were forced to flee their home Sinjar when ISIS attacked the city with the goal of eradicating the Yazidi population. Born shortly after arriving to the displacement camp in August 2014 Nadine named her son to commemorate the ongoing persecution of the Yazidi population.
Dusk falls over the Bajad Kandala displacement camp. 01.06.19
I’ve several days yet remaining in Kurdistan but the reality of me leaving to return to my comfortable life is starting to crystallize. Those who’ve allowed me into their lives—many of whom I now call friends— will remain here, their futures but a question mark. I’m buoyed by the strength and the resilience I’ve witnessed while simultaneously being saddened and infuriated by the injustice.
A little bit of light, shadow and moment in the Shariya Yazidi displacement camp outside of Dohuk, Iraqi Kurdistan.
When the #yezidi community from Sinjar was forced to flee from ISIS in August 2014 the education of thousands of children and young adults was disrupted. Today, in the Bajad Kandala camp in Iraqi Kurdistan some NGOs and a host of Kurdish volunteer teachers are working to aid in education efforts. Though classes are only for a few hours several days a week if one is to walk through the camp they will see children and young adults studying in their spare moments, many working to learn English, all doing so in the hope of finding a good job.
Can you imagine being confined for over four years to a place whose perimeter you could walk in less than 30 minutes?
A fenced enclosure, the Bajad Kandala displacement camp has limited entry and exit points ... so when this little lady opted to cut loose for a bit I could hardly blame her. As I watched her run off I found myself thinking how rarely I recognized the privilege of my own freedom.