Iraq: “I’ll Try To Tell You In Simple Words …”

My mother, father and younger brother are here with me. My uncles and my cousins, however, remained there. The war forced us to flee. It happened five years ago. I was 24 years old.

Today, I live with them in the Barika Camp, Iraqi Kurdistan, together with other refugees like us. I began working with EMERGENCY as a volunteer at first. Then, over time, I became head of the group of Health Promoters in the Ashti IDP Camp.

Every day is a challenge: interacting with patients and raising their awareness of good hygiene and health practices is not always easy. At first it seemed to me that the people I spoke to did not understand what we were trying to convey to them. But prevention is fundamental in a place like this, inhabited by thousands of people living in such precarious conditions. That’s why I went out of my way to help everyone understand the importance of the work I do together with my team.

What do we do? I’ll try to tell you in simple words. We are together with people in the camps. We teach them how to prevent easily communicable diseases. We help mothers to reduce the levels of malnutrition among their children. We help daily with essential personal hygiene, such as hand washing and dental health. This work is teaching me a lot, from both a professional and human point of view. If I was asked to think about the most important thing I’ve learned, I would answer like this: that it’s crucial to appreciate both the challenges and rewards, whilst never forgetting to respect every person as a human being.

I hope that everyone might be able to appreciate everyday challenges in this same spirit, enjoying the satisfaction that derives from overcoming daily hurdles, both small and large. The people we deal with are just that: people.

This is how I approach my work and my life, with the hope of being able to return soon to Qamishlo, in my Syria.

Hussein Muhammed, from Ashti

Emergency UK

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