Dohok, Iraq

I want you to meet M—. M was a 12-year old double orphan living at the UN Sponsored Domiz Refugee Camp near Dohok, Iraq, when I met her in 2013. I was leading a group of 12 Kurdish-Iraqi university students on a mercy trip to the camp: we brought food, clothing and school supplies that the university students had gathered during the previous weeks. In addition, we had 500 envelopes containing the equivalent of $US10 in Iraqi dinars to give each student to purchase treats at the local store located just outside the refugee camp.

M’s parents were killed by the Syrian government under the regime of Bashar al-Assad for participating in the pro-democracy protests during the Arab Spring sometime in 2011. M walked across the border from Syria into Iraq with her uncle and aunt who were themselves fleeing the vicious civil war. She was living at the camp in a 12’ by 12’ tent with nine other parents. They had already lived in this tent for eight months when I met them early in 2013.

This refugee camp was designed for 10,000 people. When I was there an estimated 25,000 persons were living in the camp. Food and supplies were stretched thin. Sanitation was marginal. It is difficult to describe how people live in conditions like this.

M wanted to go home and resume school. She told me that she wanted to be a teacher. Later, he uncle told me there was no home for M to return to: their entire village had been destroyed. Struggling to hold back tears, he could not articulate a plan for what the future would look like to them other than to say “inshallah [God willing] everything will work out.”

If M is still alive, she is 20 now years old. It is impossible to know where she is, what she is doing and how her life and career will develop. Inshallah, God will protect her and provide her with a future.

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