"My name is Amal. I am from Qaraqosh, in northern Iraq.
My family and I are Christians. We were forced to flee our homes almost two years ago when Da’esh took over our towns. I was at church when they arrived. People started leaving the building one by one as their relatives came to get them in order to flee. I didn’t know what was going on, and went back home. The roads were completely empty. When they told me what happened, my husband and I decided that I would leave immediately with the kids. After we left, it was just too dangerous, and so my husband left the same evening.
We thought we were leaving only for a week or two, so we only packed our clothes. When it became clear we would be gone for longer, we quickly went back to Qaraqosh, but only to take our documents. We left again immediately.
We drove in the direction of Dohuk, and at one of the checkpoints, a policeman told us that if we kept going down the same road, we would run into Da’esh again,
When we arrived in Erbil, we came to the church, but they were already very full. People were sleeping packed together in the garden. When we arrived, we didn’t even have food, but people in Erbil helped us get by.
But two years later, we are seven of us living in a caravan. The children squabble a lot. We used to have a big house with plenty of space and a garden shop in Qaraqosh. I’ve tried to grow a few things here, but the children always come and pick the flowers.
My youngest son, who is 17, asks me why he should bother studying. He feels that his only option is to go to Europe. I don’t think that is a good idea. Who would be there to welcome him?"