Displaced: Nine months
Fadi lives in Basirma refugee camp in northern Iraqi Kurdistan with his six person family.
His family decided it was time to flee Syria after their house was attacked and raided by fighters.
Fadi was only able to bring a few pieces of clothing for the long journey to Kurdish Iraq.
Mosquitos and other insects plague camp residents and right next to his tent runs a raw drainage ditch.
Fadi says they left Syria because of the bombs.
His uncle has been missing since the start of the war, and Fadi misses him greatly.
Faid hasn’t been able to go to school in over two years.
He misses the Mediterranean Sea, and his home in Syria.
Fadi is eleven years old.
Interviewed May 2014
Frial lives in Basirma refugee camp in northern Iraqi Kurdistan with her six family members.
Her family decided it was time to flee Syria after their house was attacked and raided by fighters.
Frial was only able to bring a few pieces of clothing for the long journey to Kurdish Iraq.
She misses the toys she left behind, and the zoo, and the parks in Damascus.
Her favorite color is red.
Her favorite animals are donkeys.
She is too young to attend the one school in the camp, but likes studying numbers.
The biggest problems in the camps where she lives are the mosquitos and insects, and the raw drainage ditch that runs near their tent.
Frial is seven years old.
Jamila, Fadi, their father, and cousins outside their tent at Basirma refugee camp in northern Iraqi Kurdistan.
Jamila lives with her six person family at Basirma refugee camp in northern Iraqi Kurdistan alongside over 3500 other refugees.
Her favorite color is pink.
Her favorite animals are ducks.
Jamila’s family says she loves watching Tom and Jerry, and can watch all day.
Her father says the biggest problems for Jamila are the mosquitos and insects and the raw drainage ditch that runs near their tent.
Jamila is four years old.
Ali shares a small concrete cell at a refugee camp situated in the far northern Iraqi Kurdish city of Akre.
He works seven days a week from 5 am until 4 pm building houses.
Ali was only able to bring his clothing with him when he fled Syria.
He misses his relatives, especially his grandfather who stayed in their village.
Ali wants to go back to Syria.
He hopes to become a teacher after he’s able to go back to school and finish his studies.
His favorite sport is soccer and he loves Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ali says he doesn’t like Iraq but says that life in Akre is better than most because it isn’t a tent.
He was hopeful when leaving Syria because he thought he would find a better and safer life in Iraq, but he says he didn’t find it.
Ali is fifteen years old.
Tel Zearat, Syria
Manal lives in Kawergosk refugee camp outside of Arbil, Iraq with her parents, five sisters, and brother.
She’s in the 6th grade, and her favorite subject is Arabic.
Manal’s family fled Syria after there was a clash with the FSA and Assad forces than spliied into their courtyard, and bullets passed through their windows and into their home.
Her parents say that every night she asks if they can go back to Syria, and that Manal was terrified when they were crossing the bridge out of Syria into Iraq.
Manal misses Syria, and remembers not being able to go outside during the war, but admits that in Iraq she is safe enough to go play outside with her friends.
Manal is twelve years old.
Interviewed June 2014
Displaced: Eight months
Merwa lives in a tent at Kawergosk refugee camp on the outskirts of Erbil, Kurdistan (Iraq).
She’s in the 2nd grade, and her favorite subject is music.
Her favorite thing to eat is salad.
Her favorite animals are birds.
When she grows up, Merwa wants to be a music teacher.
Merwa misses her aunt, who is still stuck in Syria, and wishes she had a picture of her family that was left at her home when they fled.
If she could tell everyone in the world one thing it would be: “just be happy”.
Merwa is eight years old.
Amgahan shares a small concrete cell at Akre Refugee Camp alongside more than 1,400 Kurdish Syrians in northern Iraq with her parents and five siblings.
She likes Iraq because it’s beautiful, but she misses Syria.
Her family had to leave the country because there was no work or money, and there was fighting everywhere. Amgahan said “life had stopped”.
She brought two pairs of clothing with her to Iraq.
She misses her home.
She was most worried about being forced to live in a tent and thinks the large cell they share in the compound is much better.
She wants to continue her studies and go back to Syria.
Amgahan is twelve years old.
Aliah shares a small concrete cell with her parents and two siblings at Akre Refugee Camp in northern Iraq, alongside more than 1,400 Kurdish Syrians.
She’s attends 4th grade at a school for refugees outside the camp.
Aliah hopes to teach art when she grows up.
She loves tomato soup, and playing with her friends in her free time.
Before Aliah fled to Iraq with her family, there was a significant increase in the fighting in her village between the Al-Nusra Front and Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
She says there was constant bombing and gunfire in the Al-Hasakah.
Aliah likes Iraq because it is safer than Syria.
All she brought to Iraq were her clothes.
Aliah misses her relatives that have been unable to leave Syria.
When she thinks about home and her country, many wonderful memories come to her mind.
She wishes everything would go back to the way it was before the war.
Aliah is ten years old.
Dary shares a small concrete cell at Akre Refugee Camp in northern Iraq and he goes to school at a building right outside the prison compound.
His favorite subject is math, tigers are Dary’s favorite animal, and he likes the color yellow.
Dary loves to eat chicken.
He likes to read old Arabic stories, and especially enjoys books with a fantasy element or ones that force him to use his imagination.
His favorite sport is basketball, although he isn’t able to watch the sport on television so his favorite team is the Real Madrid football club.
Although he likes Iraq and says it is beautiful, he misses his home very much.
Before his family of eight left Syria for Iraq, their village was controlled by Al-Nusra.
They heard rumors that President Assad was going to bomb their village, so they grabbed what they could carry, and went to a nearby town for safety.
They next day they saw and heard the bombing of their hometown, and left for Iraq.
Dary had packed a bag of toys but wasn’t able to bring it with him; all he carried to the camp were some clothes.
His mother says that when he was crossing the border, Dary was afraid there would be jets and bombings.
Dary is eleven years old.
Sulaf shares a small concrete cell at Akre Refugee Camp in northern Iraq with her family of eight.
She’s in the second grade.
She loves math, and wants to be a math teacher when she grows up.
Sulaf says she loves her city of Damascus and doesn't like Iraq.
Her favorite animals are rabbits.
Her favorite food to eat is chicken.
When she has free time, Sulaf plays with her friends for fun.
Her mother says that when they were fleeing Syria, Sulaf was terrified that they would be bombed.
They left home quickly, and were unable to bring anything with them other than the clothes they were wearing.
Her father is still in Syria and unable to leave.
Sulaf is nine years old.
Rami lives in the Kawergosk refugee camp outside of Arbil, Iraq with his parents, two brothers, and three sisters.
He’s in the 6th grade and likes studying English.
Rami wants to be a building engineer when he grows up.
He says he doesn’t like life in Iraq because life in a refugee camp isn’t a good way to live.
He wants a home instead of a living in tent, and wants to go back to Syria because he forgot things there like his games and books.
His favorite color is blue, he loves dogs, and his favorite food is a rice and meat dish.
If he was able to talk to everyone in the world he would say “Don’t fight.” and “Kurds, come together.”
Rami is twelve years old.
Sulaf shares a small concrete cell inside a former prison that now serves as a refugee camps in the far northern Iraqi Kurdish city of Akre.
She likes studying the Kurdish language in school, and wants to be a doctor when she grows up.
Horses are her favorite animal.
She loves spaghetti.
Sulaf says there was a lot of fighting in her part of Damascus before her family left for Iraq.
The windows of her house were broken, and no one was able to go outside for some time.
Her family took a flight to Al-Qamishli, then drove to the border, where they had to walk for an hour-and-a-half to get into Kurdish-held Iraq.
Sulaf was only able to bring her clothing because of the long journey.
She says she misses her friends, neighborhood, and school in Damascus the most.
She wishes she had the computer and bike that she left in Syria.
Sulaf is twelve years old.
Valentina lives in a tent at Kawergosk refugee camp on the outskirts of Erbil, Kurdistan (Iraq) with her two sisters, three brothers, and parents.
Valentina is in the fourth grade at a school in the camp and loves studying English.
Horses are her favorite animal, she likes the color green, and her favorite food is rice.
She likes playing sports and having running competitions with her friends.
Although she is thankful for living in the safety of Iraq, Valentina doesn’t like the camp because it is hot, and she has to sleep in a tent.
Valentina was living in Damascus when the war started, and when it eventually reached her neighborhood there was constant bombing and shortages of fuel and bread.
The family’s shop down the street from Valentina’s house was damaged in a mortar attack, and that was when her parents decided to leave for Iraq.
Valentina misses her school, and her grandparents that haven’t been able to leave Syria.
When they fled Damascus, Valentina brought nothing except the clothes on her back. She wishes she had the teddy bear that she left in Damascus.
Valentina is ten years old.
Family portrait at Kawergosk refugee camp.
Merwa, Russia, their siblings, and parents at Kawergosk refugee camp.
Khalel lives in the Kawergosk refugee camp outside of Erbil, Iraq with his parents, two brothers, and one sister.
He’s in the 5th grade, and likes studying English.
When he grows up, Khalel wants to be an oil engineer.
His favorite color is black, and he likes eating Indian styled kebabs.
Khalel doesn’t like Iraq because it’s hot, there are no washrooms, and he says “it feels like a prison”.
He misses his house in Damascus, his games he left there, and his grandparents, who are still in Syria.
All he was able to bring with him on the journey to Iraq were the clothes he was wearing, and four pencils.
He wishes he could tell everyone in the world, “don’t fight”.
Khalel is eleven years old
Omar lives in Kawergosk refugee camps outside of Erbil, Iraq with his family.
He is in the 4th grade, and loves studying Arabic and painting.
He like the color red, tomato soup, and tigers are his favorite animal.
When Omar grows up, he wants to be a doctor, but says he doesn’t know why.
When he thinks about Syria, Omar misses his school, but doesn’t miss any of the possessions he had.
In his free time at the camp, Omar plays with his friends, and he thinks the local Iraqis are good people.
If he could have anything in the world, Omar says he would go back to Syria.
Omar is eleven years old.
Deler lives in Kawergosk refugee camps outside of Arbil, Iraq with his parents and three brothers.
When he grows up he wants to be an engineer.
Deler likes the color red, birds are his favorite animals, and he loves to eat fish.
Deler brought nothing with him to Iraq except his clothes.
He wishes he still had the bike he left in Syria.
Deler complains that life in Iraq is too hot, and he hates living in a tent.
His favorite sport is basketball, but his favorite professional sports team is the Barcelona football club.
Deler is nine years old.
Interviewed June 2014
Displaced: Eight months
Aras Ali lives in Kawergosk refugee camp outside of Arbil Iraq with his parents, two brothers, and three sisters.
He’s in the fifth grade, and his favorite subject is English.
Tigers are his favorite animal, his favorite color, green. He loves to eat all types of meat.
Aras loves football, and his favorite team in Real Madrid.
He thinks being in Iraq is good for his family, although he misses his grandparents who are still in Syria.
His parents say the family left Syria for Iraq because there was bombing and fighting in their neighborhood.
They remember Aras being relieved and happy when he found out they were leaving the violence in Syria for Iraq.
When Aras grows up he wants to be a doctor so he can help the sick.
He wishes he had a house to live in, instead of a tent.
Aras is eleven years old.
Russia lives at Kawergosk refugee camp in Kurdistan Iraq with her family of seven.
She’s in the 5th grade and likes painting classes.
She likes the color red, her favorite animals are birds, and she wants to be a teacher when she grows up.
Russia says she likes life in Iraq and that the camp isn’t bad.
Her family fled areas under the control of the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) because of the fighting between the YPG and ISIS.
Her grandparents were unable to join them when the family left, and Russia misses them greatly.
The border they used to cross from Syria into Iraq was a bridge crossing over the Tigris River.
Russia remembers being afraid that the bridge would collapse, or be bombed, when they were crossing.
Her family says they have enough to eat and are comfortable in the camps, but that there is nothing for them to do.
Russia is eleven years old.
Smile lives at Kawergosk refugee camp in Kurdistan Iraq with his family of four.
He’s in the third grade, and goes to a small school in the camp.
His favorite subject is Arabic and wants to be a doctor when he grows up.
His favorite sport is soccer, and he likes Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid.
He says he goes to school in the morning, and then spends the rest of the day playing soccer with his friends.
Smile misses Syria and says he likes Iraq, but not very much.
His family decided it was time to leave their village after two of their neighbors were killed by suspected ISIS snipers.
Smile is nine years old.
Madline lives in a tent at Kawergosk refugee camp on the outskirts of Erbil, Kurdistan (Iraq) with her six person family.
She’s in the 6th grade, and loves studying the English language.
Her favorite color is black, she loves cats, and her favorite thing to eat is salad.
When she grows up, Madline wants to be a doctor because her father is very sick and she wishes she knew how to help him.
Maline says she isn’t happy because her father is sick, and she doesn’t like living in the refugee camps because of the snakes, and how hot it gets in her family’s tent at night.
When she thinks about Syria she misses her grandparents, who are still there.
If she was able to say one thing to everyone in the world, she would ask them not to fight, and that she just wants to be safe and live her life.
Maline is twelve years old.
Displaced: Nine months
Anwar lives in the Kawergosk refugee camp outside of Arbil, Iraq with his parents and two sisters.
His favorite animals are sheep, he likes the color red, and loves eating rice.
Anwar was enrolled in the camp’s school but his father took him out because some of the children were getting sick. His father fears for the safety of the only son in the family.
Both of Anwar’s parents are unemployed, and his mother is very sick due to untreated blood pressure issues.
All Anwar was able to bring with him to the refugee camp from his home in Syria were the clothes he was wearing when he left.
His father says when they first left Syria, Anwar didn’t say much of anything, but only cried, asking to go back home.
Anwar says he now likes his life in Iraq.
Anwar is eight years old.
Nowzed lives in Kawergosk refugee camp outside of Arbil Iraq with his parents, two brothers, and three sisters.
He’s in the 1st grade at a school in the camp for refugees, and likes gym class the most.
His favorite type of food is a mixed rice and meat dish.
Nowzed hopes to be a teacher when he grows up.
His favorite animals are horses, and his favorite color is red.
He likes Iraq, but misses his grandparents who stayed behind in Syria.
Nowzed is seven years old.
Smile lives at Kawergosk refugee camp in Kurdistan (northern Iraq) with his family of five.
He’s in the third grade and goes to a small school in the camp.
His favorite subject is Arabic and wants to be a businessman when he grows up.
Smile’s favorite sport is soccer, and he likes watching Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid.
When Smile has free time, he plays with the other kids around the camp.
Smile says he likes Iraq because everything is good and safe.
His family was forced to leave Syria due to bombings, lack of work, and scarcity of food in their area.
Smile’s father left Syria first, and worked to save money to get his family out.
All Smile brought with him to Iraq were his clothes.
He misses his grandparents, and a picture that he left at his home of himself as a small child, posing with his family.