Raghad, 14, Muqtada, 12, Mustafa, 10, Yousuf, 6, Ruqaya, 5, Baneen, 4
“Many years ago, when our father was young, he was driving somewhere when he accidentally ran over another man. Unfortunately, the man died at the scene. The deceased man’s family was very angry, and wanted to take revenge. They wanted to kill my father so they could ’break even.’ When my father heard that they were looking for him, he was very scared. He wasn’t scared for himself but was scared for us. So, he decided to quit his job and run away to the city of Baghdad where no one knew him. He left his home and family so we could be safe.”
“He used to have a great job. But when we moved, he couldn’t find work. So, he couldn’t buy us a house. He built us a mud house, and that’s where we lived. He started helping construction workers. They’d pay him enough for a day’s worth of food. We were happy. He provided us with everything that we needed.”
“One day he left very early in the morning with his co-workers to finish up a job. That morning, the terrorists came and killed him and all the men that were with him. We didn’t know that he was killed until that night. When he didn’t come home, we went out to look for him. My mother and I went to police stations and hospitals. We found him in the last hospital that we looked at. They had put him in a fridge. When we saw him, we saw that the terrorists had shot him three times in the face. His face was all messed up. We didn’t recognize him. We knew that it was him from the clothes he was wearing.
“We reached out to the police so they could help us bury his body because we couldn’t afford all the expenses. They told us that they would take care of it and took his body for burial. We didn’t go to the graveyard to help with the burial because we were so young. We don’t even know where he is buried. We can’t even visit him when we miss him. We didn’t have a memorial service for him because we had no money. We stayed in this mud house after he died.
“I was eight years old and in the third grade, when this happened. We were in a state of shock for a very long time. We don’t have any friends or family here because my father ran away from his home to protect us. We are always alone.”
“My father was a simple man. He used to wish all the houses he worked in were our house because we were living in that mud house. He prayed for one day to own a house so he could protect us from the cold winter days and heat of the summer. We never thought that this day would come. I never thought I would lose my father because I was only a young child.
“We are not living like humans. Do you see that pile of bricks? That was our house. Two days ago, it rained really hard and our house fell to the floor while we were sleeping. It fell on us. I’m just a human by name. I’m not living like a human. Look around. We live in a landfill that’s filled with diseases.
“We want to become police officers and lawyers so we can defend those who are oppressed. No one deserves to live like we do. We are living on the streets. Animals are living better than us. We will make sure no one lives like this. But I don’t think that will ever happen because I have no money to go to school and study to become what I want.”
“See this house? That was our house. It fell on us while we were sleeping. Can you please fix it for us? We don’t have anywhere to go. Now we are living on the streets.
“If one day we become rich, we will still feel like we’re poor because we lost the most valuable person in our life, and that is our father.”
Ruqaya, 5, Baneen, 4
The above represents one of many orphan stories by victims in war-torn regions. Your support can make a difference for orphans like Raghad and her siblings. Make a contribution today by clicking here.