Days in these mine-infested fields begin like any other, whether they will irreversibly alter someone’s life or not.
“I remember when my twin brother Zana and I were playing in the field near home and that grenade suddenly exploded. We were 12 years old and had no idea what that thing could be, so we picked it up. The second time we threw it on the ground, it exploded.”
Thus begins the story of Dana and Zana, 27-year-old twins and patients at EMERGENCY’s Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration Centre in Sulaymaniyah which offers free-of-charge prostheses, physiotherapy, rehabilitation and vocational training courses to patients injured by war and landmines.
“Zana was unconscious on the floor, with his eyes closed. I could barely keep my eyes open and the noises seemed so far away. It was our uncle who found us and took us – together with our mother – to the hospital in Kirkuk, the closest town to our village,” Dana continues.
“But then our mother found out about the EMERGENCY hospital in Sulaymaniyah and she decided to take us there. We stayed for three months while the prostheses were made and for rehabilitation. Now we come back here from time to time to have them checked or fixed.
We’ve grown a lot since that explosion in 2003, so we’ve had to change prostheses several times. They are fundamental to our life and our work: I wouldn’t be able to take the sheep out to pasture and my brother couldn’t do the cleaning at school without them,” Zana goes on.
Theirs is not the only misfortune in the family. Two of their other siblings lost their lives to landmines when they were just 15 and 16 years old.
Although war has marked their bodies, and their past, it hasn’t been able to stop their dreams and hopes for life in the future. Dana hopes to become a doctor, get married, have children and live in a nice house; and Zana would also like to have a family and be a school teacher.
EMERGENCY’s Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration Centre in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, is funded by EU ‘European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations’ (ECHO).