“It was a dark night when suddenly the sky became like day, it was colorful from the shots and gunpowder. We were suddenly attacked by armed men wearing black clothes, they were frightening and looked like horrible shapes with long beards.” This is recounted from Ahmed Ali, a 12-year-old boy, one of six children who lives with his family and 700 other internally displaced families, most of them from the Iraqi city of Mosul.
The province of Mosul fell to ISIS on 11 June 2014, but Ahmed remembers these events like they were yesterday. He continues to explain, “We tried to escape several times but we could not, they burned our house. Because of fears of forced marriage, kidnapping, and public threats my family and other families planned to escape again.
On 23 January at 4 o’clock…before the sun rose, we ate breakfast and headed out of our area, it was a cold and rainy day. We carried just one bag between us, this bag had our whole life’s documents in it, a marriage certificate, passports, proof of school enrollments. We walked for long distances in rugged and rocky areas.
After about an hour of walking we encountered dikes full of dirty water that we had to pass through. The water was so cold, I carried my little brother on my back and my mother was carrying my baby brother. Our clothes became soaking wet. My brothers and I suffered from extreme fatigue. The situation was so bad I cannot even describe it.
Then we reached a wide and extended area surrounded by mines except a narrow and winding road which we walked on. After all this trouble and walking for more than 7 hours we finally reached Khadra. Here our situation became worse.
The terrorists attacked us. We were three groups and we all scattered to get away, everyone running in different directions to escape. They fired shots at me, trying to kill me, so I could not escape. They captured me and put me in an old and scary house with people I did not know, a family lived there. I was constantly insulted and I was suffering. I cried every night until the morning and my tears would dry up. I felt like an orphaned child, I missed my family and didn’t know where they were.
After three days one of the family members told me they would be helping me to escape. On 3 February at midnight I ran away. I walked and walked in the middle of the night. Then a long way in the distance I saw a light so I shouted and shouted until they heard me. The Peshmerga Army reached me and took me to the headquarters and took care of me. I ate and slept until morning. Then I was moved to this camp, Baharka Camp.
Because of all these tragedies in my life, I became very depressed. I could not eat or sleep. I was treated by a psychiatrist.”
These were the words and memories from Ahmed Ali, this 12-year-old has suffered so much in his life. He now resides in the Kurdish province of Hawler, located in northern Iraq where Baharka Refugee Camp lies.
Bring Hope Humanitarian Foundation visited the camp and brought gifts for the children living here. Ahmed Ali says, “…one of my friends told me there will be a celebration with donating gifts for children by Bring Hope Foundation. I became very happy when I met new friends and had a fun day filled with adventures. In the moment when I received the gift I felt that life is happy and we deserve to live. This was the first gift that I received in my life.”
We think that says it all!
To be part of this amazing journey, see bringhope.info