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The story of Haifa‘a- beneficiary in northern Iraq

4. April 2017 -
It was an existential decision which the 23-year-old Haifa'a from Baidji had to take. The young and ambitious woman was close to accomplishing her training as a doctor’s assistant when ISIS captured her hometown in northern Iraq. Anxiety and terrorism determined her life. It was clear to Haifa'a that her plans had been destroyed. Now the only thing that mattered was finding a way to survive. That’s why Haifa'a and her family decided to flee.

The report of their escape sounds like a nightmare, but it is far too real.  Haifa'a, her parents and seven siblings set off in the deep of the night. The family had to cross fields where mines and exploding devices could detonate at every single step. Moreover there was a lack of food and water. The family was torn apart and threatened. Warriors of ISIS killed Haifa'as eldest brother in front of the family, because he had been a member of the Iraqi police. Later on, her father was imprisoned by the military. Afterwards, they spent months tramping around.

Without her father and brother, it was up to Haifa'a’s to protect the remaining family. The responsibility was a huge burden to her. It did not get any easier as they finally reached the Daquq refugee camp near Kirkuk in the end of 2016, where arche noVa provides humanitarian aid. The family suffered from their traumatizing experiences. Haifa'a's mother and her two sisters became ill. The young woman reports: "I had no hope and I even thought of ending my life”. She had lost everything: her home and family members as well as her dream.

However, Haifa'a is a strong woman and to support her family, she looked for work in the camp. She searched in vain until arche noVa offered her a job as a hygiene promoter. Thus, she was able raise the family’s hope again and free herself from the state of shock that had captured her since the decision to flee. With the help of the job she became more courageous and earn an income. By this means she could provide her mother and sisters with medicine. "arche noVa enabled me to find myself and to support my family," the 23-year-old recalls.

The staff of our local team in the refugee camp is proud of Haifa'a and appreciates the young woman as a motivated and reliable employee. And there is one thing that she never lost: her powerful will. She is determined to do her best to finish her education some day and enable her family to lead a better life.

To protect Haifa'a and her family we do not mention her full name. To find further information about the tasks of Haifa'a and the other employees of our hygiene promotion teams in the camps supervised by arche noVa, please read our project description.