Humans of Kurdistan
The "Humans Of Kurdistan" project aims to present the cultural diversity of the country. A look at the faces but also the stories that lie behind each of them.

June 5, 2021

“I was born in the beautiful nature of Afrin. We have a connection with trees and nature in an indescribable way. After immigrating from Afrin to Kobane and later on to Qamishli, one day with a group of my friends we got together and announced the Prchi Sawz (The Green Braid) project, in which we would be planting approximately 4 million trees in Qamishli and the surrounding areas. Because of the lack of green areas in Qamishli, the Syrian system provided a big area of land for planting wheat and barley. Anyone wanting to plant a tree on their land would be punished. We have more volunteers now and everyone wants to help as much as they can. In the future, we will give each house a tree to plant in their front yard. We are still in the beginning but are sure that we will have planted 4 million trees during the next 5 years. Our project is independent and is for serving the community”. ...

June 2, 2021

“According to the couple of years I’ve been serving in the health sector, I’ve seen many strange incidents both happy and sad. I’ve always helped patients as much as I can, even if it wasn’t in the hospital's ability. Our duty is to serve citizens. That’s why when we see patients or the patient’s family satisfied by us and later on thank us with a bouquet or some nice words, our urge to serve increases. One day on my way to work, I saw a child with brain paralysis in his sister’s arms. Knowing the hospital’s duties were difficult, I decided to financially support the child back to health and later on throughout life. As days passed, one day a respectful person came in and said that he was the father of that child. He had come to thank me for everything I had done for them and that God had taken him back. I can never forget that man’s gratitude and appreciation. His regards and prayers have helped me to continue doing good”. ...

May 31, 2021

“I was 10 years old when I lost my mother. At the beginning of the revolution in Syria, many problems and security issues emerged. My family and I had prepared ourselves to go to my grandfather’s house in one of the villages near Amuda for Eid al-Adha. We were very excited as we were going back to our village to have a good time and get away from the city and not study for a week. Around 10:30 pm, we got on the bus. As we got near the village’s border, many shots were fired upon us and the source is still unknown till now. I was really scared and thanked God nothing had happened to my family. But I saw that something had happened to my mother. When I looked at her body, I saw she was bleeding. We arrived in the village and immediately took my mother to the nearest hospital in Al Hasakah. But after a few hours, my sisters and I got a shocking news that my mother had passed away”. “We had only been living with her for a few years and up until today I still can't forget what happened to me and my sisters on that cursed day. I didn’t feel loved by anyone around us anymore. I felt like everyone was running away from the responsibilities they had towards us. I felt weak. I felt there was nobody by my side to support and protect me except for my father, in which he became more miserable after losing the love of his life. I didn't talk to anyone for a long time, except for some friends who would always check up on me. In the beginning, when my mother passed away, I lost confidence in myself. But life was continuing and didn’t stop despite the difficulties we were enduring due to losing the most precious person in our lives. We have our dad to depend on for everything, he’s been with us till this moment. I’ve reached university now and I’m studying law. I wished my mother could see my success but this was God’s fate”. ...

May 29, 2021

“I was 15 years old when I got married, he wasn’t my pick. Disputes and trouble started from the beginning of my marriage. It didn’t last a year and we got divorced. In our society, especially in the villages, they think badly about divorced women, thinking it’s our fault our lives are a mess. It’s very difficult to live in this kind of society as you suffer a lot. There’s a day in my life I will never forget, I had gotten a marriage proposal, and I said I wouldn’t marry him as I don’t like the marriage life. At that time, a relative of ours came and said, “Why don’t you get married as living with your husband is much better than living with your parents”. At that moment, my heart was about to burst as I hated life a lot. It was very strange to me as parents had to demand back what they’ve given you. From that day on, I decided to stand on my own feet and started working. I also started studying alongside my job. I started a new life for myself as I began to work. I proudly live in the society now and depending on myself has given me freedom”. ...

May 27, 2021

“I studied up until the fourth grade and I can now gladly do my own things and don’t need anyone for reading and writing. I was 12 years old when I started selling vegetables and fruits from one village to another. I remember when visiting some villages, instead of money the people would give me eggs and flour. I know most of the people who live in those villages from the men and women to their children. They respect me a lot and we eat at the same table. I still do the same job now and on Fridays, I take the eggs to the poultry market in Bardarash and exchange them for money to make a living for my family. Four of my children are students, the other two are young and don’t go to school yet. Anyone who chooses a job they like will be successful at it. In the beginning, I worked on a wagon and now I drive a pickup truck and make a livelihood for my family without peeking into other people's lives. My job makes me very happy although it’s extremely tiring. I’ll continue doing my job for as long as God gives me life”. ...

May 25, 2021

“I live in Qamishli, but originally, I'm from Cizire Botan. We came to Qamishli a long time ago, and now it has become our hometown. With the start of the war in Syria and the west, all of my brothers left but I insisted on staying. I decided to work and make a living for my kids. I have been a cobbler for 35 years. I learned from a man named Abu Salim and I owe him many favors. In the past, people used to do this job on the street. We were the first to open a store for repairing footwear and bags. After that, I opened a store myself and hired an apprentice. He was a quick learner and has stayed with me until now. We have been working together for 35 years. I love my job, but I get back pain because I sit most of the time”. ...

May 24, 2021

“My parents were old when I was in university, and my other siblings didn't take care of them. So, I had to leave university and go back to our village to take care of them. From that moment on I’ve become like parents to them. I spent my life farming and during that time the income from farming wasn’t that much, I started laboring at Azad dam. In order to be able to find a job and not face any problems, I started to wear men's clothing instead of my clothes and from that moment I left my girlhood. Since then, I have been living that way. I face criticism lots of times because of the way I dress but they never stop to think about why I chose it”. ...

May 22, 2021

“I haven't academically studied art but Youtube was like a teacher for me, I learned my job from Youtube, I'm amazed by European painters like (Picasso, van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci) because of their creativity in art. This became one of my obsessions to follow their lead and to find my own way so I could be famous just like them. Every painter has their secret when they paint, they have a fantasy inside their head and they express it through the paintbrush. In the beginning, when I started painting I would draw five little birds as a symbol for my work. Sometimes people recognized my work from the birds. I give some of them as gifts, and I paint the requested ones for money. For most jobs, if you want to be successful at it, you have to make a sacrifice and give your work as gifts to people who have a taste in art. For them to evaluate your work and criticize your paintings, so you work harder and not repeat the same mistakes”. ...

May 18, 2021

“17 years ago, I was young and hadn’t married yet. I lived in Gorava. The houses in that neighborhood were very old and cars couldn’t reach the alleys to bring down the trash and other appliances. I became a contract employee at the municipality and would clean the streets using a donkey. I would also use it to take food and construction materials up into the neighborhood. People told me not to do this job since I was young and they wouldn’t give me their daughter to marry. They would belittle me and make fun of me. Luckily, I now have a family and 4 children. Since I was the eldest son in the family and our financial status wasn’t good, I couldn’t finish school and only studied until the fourth grade. I chose my career at that time and love it a lot. I don’t mind the people’s mocking, all I say is may God bless them. As of now, we clean and pick up the trash in both Gorava and Chostayi neighborhoods using four donkeys. We also help the ill and elderly go down until they reach vehicular access”. ...

May 16, 2021

“My love story is beautiful and amusing at the same time. When my husband was young, he was friends with my brothers so he would come to our house a lot. I never felt that he had feelings for me because I was young. I remember, he would do funny faces so he could draw my attention but I never looked at him, or he would go to the roof of our neighbor's house to draw my attention. Everyone around me, from the neighbors to my friends and family members knew about his love for me except me. When I found out, I was in shock because he was like a brother to me, and for the same reason, I rejected his love several times. A lot of elderly people talked to me but I still refused to accept. At the end, I thought about it seriously and he was the perfect one, he is someone who loves me and respects me and he would do anything I asked for. We were engaged for a while and then got married. Now, we have three kids. It’s been 17 years and to this day I'm very happy with him. I have never regretted marrying him because I always get my support, abilities, and energy from him”. ...

May 9, 2021

“I'm 67 years old and haven't been to school till this day. I always count on myself, I can't remember a day where I haven’t had a job. The only request I have for the girls and boys who have a graduation certificate is not to rely on being employed. Human beings should always do their best, because each person has their own energy and mindset, and they have to show it so they can find themselves and make their own living. In 1974, I went to the mountains for 5 years and became a Peshmerga. At that time, I only had 5 Iraqi dinars, but we did it all for the sake of our country, not for the money. Back then people weren’t merciless, they were grateful. We were happy and helped each other expecting nothing in return. Now, I have a retirement salary which can only cover my cigarettes. I sell fowls as well and have a pickup truck. Everyday I go to different fields and shops in different cities to sell geese, ducks, and chickens. Living with animals and fowls is very beneficial and I have a happy life”. ...

May 7, 2021

“When I was young, my father bought me a camera, he said I will teach you how to use a camera so you have your own. He taught me how to use the camera for a whole year. In 1975 I started to work at Al-Tabqah city. After that in 1986, I transferred my job to my hometown, Afrin and I opened a photography studio with the name Studio 21 because of March 21. Syrian Armed Forces didn’t allow the name, so I changed the name to Studio 23, not to get arrested. With the start of the Syrian and Western revolution and the eviction of the Syrian government forces from Afrin, I renamed my studio, Studio 21. Despite working at the studio, I would visit Afrin's village and mountains to take pictures and turn them into an archive. In 2018 when Turkey started to seize Afrin we moved to Qamishli. After a few days, on social media I saw that my studio had been burnt down and was turned into a butcher shop. I lost most of the archives that I had collected from 1975, I got really upset when I saw that scene. Even if I have one day left of my life, I will return to Afrin and build my studio again”. ...