Iraq: These Two have Stared the Same War in the Face

“These four walls, cluttered with equipment and immersed in darkness behind a street on the west side of the city, contain a story. That story lets me know that this is more than just the carpenter’s shop where Sherwan and Taha have been working for about a year.

Their paths in life, both hindered by the violence of war, led them to our Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration Centre before they ended up in this workshop. We provided them with prostheses for their legs and rehabilitation to help them get back to as normal a life as possible.

‘I’m sorry for fighting. I was a soldier. I was following orders,’ Sherwan tells me, apologising inside these four walls. He’s 41 years old and is wearing a striped jumper today. His colleague Taha is just two years older and war has scarred his body as it has Sherwan’s, but in a different way.

While Sherwan was a soldier before becoming a carpenter, Taha removed mines. When an explosion robbed him of part of his right leg, he was doing his job, removing the devices that cover the mountainous area of the region with the highest number of mines in the world.

This workshop is so much more than just an ordinary place. These two have stared the same war in the face, and gone on to learn carpentry together in one of the training courses we offer to former patients at our Centre. Today, thanks to our help, they’ve managed to come back from the brink, walk again and find their place in the world, within this landscape scarred by deep wounds.”

— Maria, EMERGENCY staff member in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq



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