“I am a mother of two from Fallujah, and I was displaced from my hometown in 2014 when ISIL entered the city, killing men and raping women. We fled to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and things were very hard in the beginning. We had nothing and no one to rely on. Thank God people were very welcoming and supported us a lot.
I have no academic degree, and when we first came to Erbil I immediately looked for work, but couldn’t find any because of my lack of education.
When my friend Gula asked me to join her, along with four other women, to start a bakery, I immediately said yes. We opened the bakery in August 2016; it felt like coming alive again after being dead. We thank God that the business is doing very well and we have been successful. We have so many customers coming to purchase our traditional bread that we had to bring in our family members to work with us.
I am so happy to have a full-time job so that I can support my family, including my father and mother who are old and cannot work. I rented a house in Shaqlawa and started a new life here. Of course, it was difficult to lose everything we had back in Fallujah, but I was determined to get back on my feet despite our circumstances. Working is honorable and crying wouldn’t get me anywhere.
Thanks to this project, I can pay the rent and take care our daily needs. I ask my mother about what she needs, plus I can buy clothes for my children and make them smile. I have suffered a lot in my life and I don’t want my children to see what I saw. They are very young! I will work hard so that they have a better life than I had. I also pay for my father’s medications.
I would like to thank IOM, they truly saved my life. I was under huge psychological pressure and on the brink of total collapse. But thank God, IOM gave me new hope. I would also like to call on all the women who were forcibly displaced and tell them not to lose hope, and to keep searching for opportunities because there is always a way out from suffering.”