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My Orphans by Zayn Abidin - 4h ago

Zahra, 8, Kadhim, 6, Hassan, 2

“It was around the time of the commemoration of the fortieth day after Imam Hussain’s martyrdom. My father took his car and went to go pick up some people and to take them to the city of Karbala. On the way, he got into a car accident and the car flipped over while he was inside, and he was killed, along with two other passengers.

We were forced to leave our home because we couldn’t afford the rent. Now we live in this mud house far away from people. We don’t even have clean water to drink. We don’t have enough money to buy clean water like other people.”

“My grandmother receives forty dollars every two months from the government and gives it to us. But most of the time she doesn’t have money to take a taxi to go and pick it up.

We don’t really go out. There’s nowhere to go. We wouldn’t be in this kind of situation if my father was still alive.”

“We used to own a piece of land. My father was working hard to try to build a house on it. We used to tell him what color we wanted our rooms to be and what kind of things we wanted to keep in them. But soon after his death, the families of the two people that passed away in the car accident with our father wanted us to compensate them for the death of their family members. They didn’t care that we were small children who had nothing but the land. They didn’t care that my mother had to support three small children all on her own. So, my mother sold the piece of land so she could pay them. They took the only thing we had.

“Now we live in an old army camp. The soldiers helped my mother build a mud house for us. I can’t sleep here because there are snakes and scorpions everywhere. The sound of the helicopters is always ringing in my head.  Sometimes it rains during the winter, and our house turns into mud. So, we stay and sleep outside. When the soldiers pass by, they give us a place to stay for one night, and they help us rebuild the mud house.

“My life has turned into a living hell. I don’t go to school. I don’t want anything in my life.

I just want to leave this camp. I just want to live in a normal home. There’s one thing that we really wish we had. We really want a TV so we can watch cartoons like other small children.

Sometimes I think about running away when I get a little older, but I don’t know where I’d go.” – Zahra

The above represents one of many orphan stories by victims in war-torn regions. Your support can make a difference for orphans like Zahra, Kadhim, and Hassan. Make a contribution today by clicking here.

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Eylaf, 10, Dalya, 8, and Malak, 7 – Baghdad, Iraq

“Our father used to be a construction worker. One day, he left for work early in the morning. That day, he never came back home. We didn’t know where he went. We don’t know what happened. A few days after he went missing, we found out that there was a bomb blast in the area that he was working. He died in that bomb blast.

“We only have a few memories of our father because we were all very young when he passed away six years ago. But I know if he was here, we wouldn’t be living in this place. We wouldn’t be living like this, because a father does the impossible to make sure his children are happy. During those days, when there was an explosion, the dead bodies were brought to one place for families to claim them. Every time the bodies came, I used to go and look for my father’s body. It’s been so long since my father died, but I still go to look for his body. I’m not scared. I remember what he looked like. I remember what he was wearing the last time I saw him.

“We wish someone could save us from living like this. My mother goes to the landfills every morning to find bread and food for us to eat. Even these clothes that we are wearing right now, we found them in the landfills. We don’t know what happiness is. We wake up every morning feeling like we are dead. We cry all the time because we are tired of living like this. We are all sick, but we don’t have enough money to get treated. But I don’t want to even get treated because I would rather die than live like this.

“All we want is to live a better life and go to school. I am a very smart girl. If I got back to school and got educated, I know I could graduate and get a very good job. I would be able to get us out of this hell that we are living. But I know that I will never be able to go back to school, because we don’t have any money for anything.”

[After we left Eylaf’s home, she ran after us and said, “Can you please take me with you? I’m so tired of living like this.”]

The above represents one of many orphan stories by victims in war-torn regions. Your support can make a difference for orphans like Eylaf, Dalya, and Malak. Make a contribution today by clicking here.

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My Orphans by Aqil - 1M ago

Mustafa, 15 and Fatema, 9 – Baghdad, Iraq

Mustafa: “My father was a police officer, who worked in the city of Mosul. He usually went away during the week and  came back home on the weekends. It was my sister’s birthday the last time he came home. When he arrived that day, the first thing he did was take my sister out to buy her some birthday decorations and a birthday cake, so that we can celebrate her birthday. On the way home, he got a call from his boss. His boss told him that something urgent had come up and that he has to return to work right away. He dropped my sister home, said goodbye to us, and left.

“Later that day, my mother received a call from my father’s phone number. When my mother picked up, the man on the line told her that he had kidnapped my father and needs money in order to release him. We were all very scared. My mother went to all of her relatives to try to collect a good amount of money, but no one was able to give too much. The man called back after a few hours and asked my mother if she had the money ready for him to pick up. She told him that we don’t have any money and begged him to keep my father alive. She asked the man if she can hear my father’s voice, but the man refused. Right then and there, my mother knew that my father had been killed. We hoped that he would walk in at any moment. But he never did.

“Three days after the incident, we were watching the news on TV. They were reporting the same attack my father was in. We were paying close attention to figure out what happened exactly. Then, we saw my father’s body pop up on the TV screen. Three days after that, we received his body.

“We used to be a really happy family of four. My father would always take us out and made sure to we had a good time. Those were good days. But after my father left us that day, my sister and I were all of a sudden without a father. Every day I wake up wishing it wasn’t real. We haven’t seen anything but sadness and tears since he left that day. No one really cares about us. People aren’t nice or helpful. Maybe because they can’t feel what we are feeling. My father used to take good care of us, and now he can’t. My mother can’t even work because there are no jobs. I want to find a job, but my mother is scared for me because so many bad things are happening, and she doesn’t want me to get involved with them.

“I wish I could see my father just one more time. I want to play with him one last time. All my dreams died when he was killed. I still can’t believe that he is not with us anymore. I feel like I’m dreaming. When I miss him a lot and feel lonely and sad, I go to the graveyard and sit by his grave. I cry to him. Sometimes I take my report card with me, and I tell him ‘Baba, look at my report card.  I am doing well in school. You used to give me money when I did well. Now I show other people my grades, but no one cares.”  I always tell him that when I grow up, I want to become an officer just like him so I can bring those who killed him to justice.”

Fatema: “When my father came home from work, he took me out to buy birthday decorations because it was my birthday. We were going to have a little birthday party. He bought me all the decorations and a birthday cake. He even bought me this green closet so I can keep all my things in it. I was so happy.

“After we came back home, he told me that he had to go back to work. Before my father left, he promised me that he won’t be long and will be back very soon. He told me that when he comes back, we will celebrate my birthday. He never ever broke his promises to me. That’s why I am still waiting for my dad to come back so we can celebrate my birthday. Everyone tells me that he’s gone, but I don’t believe it. Why would he make a promise to me if he couldn’t keep it?

“When I’m sad, I always think about the times my father used to tell me jokes to make me laugh before going to sleep. His jokes still make me laugh. Now, no one tells me jokes or makes me laugh before I sleep. I really miss him.

“Before, when I was bored, I used to l go to the amusement park. When I go now, I usually go with my neighbors. I miss my father more when I’m at the park because he was the one that always took me there. I don’t like to go anymore because my father isn’t here to take me.”

[Fatema had more to say about her father, but she started crying and was not able to continue talking.]

The above represents one of many orphan stories by victims in war-torn regions. Your support can make a difference for orphans like Mustafa and Fatema. Make a contribution today by clicking here.

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My Orphans by Aqil - 1M ago

Hana, age 12 & Noor, age 22 – Baghdad, Iraq

Hana: “That day, my parents decided to take us to the market. I got into the car with my parents and my older sister. I remember wanting to sit on my mother’s lap during the ride. I didn’t know it would be the last time I would ever do that. On the way to the market, we reached a checkpoint. We had to stop our car for a few minutes. All of a sudden, our car was being attacked. I remember seeing a group of men opening the doors of our car. I started hearing gun shots. I was sitting on my mother’s lap when all of a sudden, a man took out a knife and stabbed my mother in the throat so many times. And he kept stabbing and stabbing. I saw another man coming from the other side who took out his gun and started shooting at my father. That same man who shot my father came to the other side of the car and started shooting my mother after she had been stabbed to death. They even shot my older sister who was only thirteen years old at the time. She survived the gunshots but became paralyzed right after. I think they wanted to shoot me too, but they were stopped by their other team members because they saw that I was very little.

“They ran away after they did what they did. I remember getting out of the car and waiting on the street. I was in total shock and didn’t know what was happening. After some time, I heard the ambulances and police sirens come from all sides. They took my parents away and managed to get me to my grandmother. I stayed in a state of shock for a very, very long time after that. I only cried. Every day, I cried. That was the only thing I knew how to do at the time after what had happened. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t speak. I didn’t know what to feel. I just cried. I still hear the screams of my parents in the car. I still hear the gunshots. I was only three, but I remember everything. I even remember the face of the man that stabbed my mother.

“I miss two things the most. When I was younger, my father used to hold my hand and take me out every afternoon and buy me whatever I asked for. When I came back home, my mother used to be so happy to see me. I really miss the warmth of her lap.

“When my parents were alive, we used to live in a house. Now we don’t have a house. We live in this room made out of mud. We have no money. Maybe if we had money, we’d be living in a better place. I can’t even go and live in an orphanage. They might not accept me because I’m older than most of the children who have been orphaned. I don’t know what will happen to me when my grandmother dies. My grandmother is scared that when she dies, we’ll be left on the street without anyone to take care of us. I want a safe place to stay so that I won’t end up doing bad things to make some money and live. I just really wish I had a proper house to live in. A place that makes me feel at home. Because I still feel like I’m running away.

“My education is the most valuable thing to me. I wish to work hard and become very successful one day. I want to become a lawyer so I can bring the men who took my parents away from me and who handicapped my sister to justice. But this is going to be challenging. The hardest part of my day is when I want to study. If you look around, you will see that there is no space for me to sit comfortably and study. I don’t know how I will do it.

“This is my sister Noor. The terrorists shot her two times. One gun shot went into her back, and the other went into her leg. She was just like any other girl. Smart and beautiful. She has been paralyzed since the incident. She can’t walk anymore. She can’t move. She can’t talk. She only uses sign language if she needs to tell us something. She has to take lots of medication every single day. If she doesn’t, she suffers from seizures. This medicine is really expensive. It costs about $120 a month. Most of the time, we don’t have any money to buy it for her.

“I want the world to know one thing. These terrorists stole my childhood. I feel like the incident made me age too quickly. I was only three. But I felt like I was much older than that. Life is very difficult, and people cannot be trusted to help you with anything.”

The above represents one of many orphan stories by victims in war-torn regions. Your support can make a difference. Make a contribution today by clicking here.

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