Mahmoud’s youth did not protect him from ISIL’s destructiveness. A sheepherder, he was injured while tending his flock. One day while he was taking care of his sheep, ISIL bombed a house close to where his sheep were grazing.
“Because of the strong explosion, the electric wires fell on me. They burned my hands and arms so badly that they had to be cut off. When I left the hospital, my family decided to flee to avoid any more of ISIL’s cruelty.
We went to Haj Ali—my arms hurt so badly! Two days later we were transferred here to Dibaga Camp.
Football is great—it doesn’t matter that I don’t have hands, because I wouldn’t be allowed to use them anyways! So I can play without being ashamed, or feeling like I won’t be as good as the other guys.”
When IOM psychosocial teams met Mahmoud in Dibaga, he explained that he felt his injuries would prevent him from doing normal things like playing sports with his friends.
IOM teams encouraged Mahmoud to join in one of their activities—a football team. On a visit to the camp the next day, the same IOM team found Mahmoud practicing and playing, entirely un-self-consciously with his friends.
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