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.

January 23, 2021

“There was dam built in our village in 2010, and after it collected some water, our houses and lands were all flooded. We also have land on the other side of the dam, but even the way to the other side was flooded. The distance to our village had increased about 20 to 30 kilometers so we couldn't visit our farmland easily. While they were building the dam, we didn't say anything because we were expecting them to build a bridge as well. However, the way is now cut off, and some of our land is on this side while the rest is on the other side, our village has been separated into two parts. Our attempts to convince the people in charge was useless. Just to be able to travel across our village, we bought a boat in Ezmir. Students, farmers, and patients now can travel using this boat. It can carry 69 people each fair, they told us that it can even go under water, but we haven't tried that yet”. ...

January 22, 2021

“I have been working as a taxi driver for about 23 years. Even though my car is pretty old, but it's very valuable to me and I wash it every day. I make a living for my family, I have four kids, and my mother lives with us, she has had a brain stroke. I will do whatever mom needs, because of all the trouble she has gone through while I was a little kid. My job is not easy, I work day and night, and it is a humanitarian work. One day, I saw an accident on the street, I took the injured to the hospital, and if I hadn't he might have died. I used to take people to Aleppo and Raqqa, but it's very dangerous now so I don't go there anymore, especially after the Turkish army took over most of the way to Aleppo and Raqqa. I hope peace and safety will be brought back to the region so everyone lives safely”. ...

January 21, 2021

“It’s been seven months since my father passed away, and I grew up with my mother and my father's first wife, she has been so good to me, and I still lover her like a mother. She always wants me to visit her because she doesn't have any kids of her own. Whenever she visits me, I hide her clothes in some place and I hang on to her so she doesn't leave. Day by day, she gets older and less able, and that makes me really sad. I am still very young, but I will be always be by her side to keep her company, and do whatever she wants me to do”. ...

January 21, 2021

“After graduating from high school, I was accepted in Social Science college in Mosul. We started visiting museums for culture related subjects. After four years of college in 1991, I thought about collecting folklore items in the region. Due to technological advancement, the items that were used by our ancestors are not used anymore, and were about to be forgotten. So, I thought about opening a place and collect folklore items and protect them from being lost. At the beginning, I was asking people about these items, some of them were brought to me by the people, and I collected some of the other ones. I collected about 25% of the items in the region. I faced a lot of criticism from people back then, but that couldn't stop me. I am still collecting these items to today, and I have collected about 1000 items. Most of them are agricultural equipment because our area is suitable for agriculture”. ...

January 20, 2021

“I have been doing art work for a long time, and now I'm a teacher. I started first by drawing, and then started teaching sculpting from metals and wire. I now create portraits using wires. I made 18 sculptures about a year ago, I get a very distinctive feeling while sculpting with wires, they are truly valuable for me. Wires are a part of my art, I shape them and turn them into art. I look at the wires and imagine the model, then sketch it on a paper and start creating. At a first glance, you might think that they are drawings on the wall, but once you lean forward you can see that they are all wires, the sculptures are not real, but they give you the feeling that they are. Working with wires are not very familiar here, some people believe that it's my own invention, but it's not. This art is widely known in Europe”. ...

January 19, 2021

“I tried to do my best in school ever since I was a kid, my dream was to become a doctor. It's always said that while growing up, dreams become smaller, but I never believed that. What made me more motivated was after the explosion of Newroz of 2015 happened, my father was there and he was one of the injured. We took him to the hospital, I saw many casualties there, and I also saw all the shortcomings, that motivated me to become a doctor even more. My father was injured in his leg and arm, and because his surgery was so late, he became paralyzed. He could not work again so I decided to leave to Southern Kurdistan to get a suitable job. We stayed there for a while, but we couldn't handle it and we came back to Syria. I was then a 12th grade student, and had to try my best to get good grades to be accepted in Medical college”. “Many things happened in the same year, ISIS came to our region and were close to our house, and so we had to leave to Qamishli. Despite the bad situation, I didn't give up on my dreams, and studied and was accepted in Medical college in Damascus. I was extremely happy, and my family were proud of me because I never gave up. I went to Damascus, but a lot of trouble came my way. I was a lonely 18 years old girl, away from my family during the war and instability. As a girl, life was very difficult. I went through a lot, but never stopped chasing my dreams. I am now a senior in college and am going to be doctor to help people so that I wouldn't let what happened to my father happen to anyone else. I have learned a lesson that your situation is only affected by your will and your determination. We have to make positive changes, whether it's for ourselves or others”. ...

January 18, 2021

“Since I have a passion for cultural heritage, I was appointed as the administration assistant for the cultural heritage center for protecting historical sights and cultural inheritance. I have visited many locations and have documented them as photos and film, and that was the reason I started making sculptures for historical sights, as well as other numerous sculptures. People here are unaware of their history, they don't know how many well-known people we have had and what kind of a history we have. By doing this job, I can open a door for people see those sculptures and to familiarize themselves with the history. For me personally, I take a lot of joy that my work is seen by people and when people see my work in the future they'll think of me”. ...

January 18, 2021

“I am 65 years old, and I live alone with my sister in Qamishli, I have never gotten married. My father and uncle have fled from the Ottomans a hundred years ago, and have come to Qamishli. During the Arminian genocide, my grandfather had been killed by the Ottomans and my father had been only 6 months old. My grandmother had stayed 7 days among dead bodies to pretend to be dead when soldiers roamed around, she had been afraid to move and get caught, but she had later been able to escape, helped by the mayor of their village. My mother's family have all died. Last year, the same tragedy was repeated in Karabagh region, so we decided to not celebrate new year, showing condolences to all the martyred in the war against Azerbaijan and Turkey armies. The Armenians have faced lots of killings on the hands of the Turks and the Ottomans, same as the Kurds. I hope that peace and safety are back to the world in this new year”. ...

January 17, 2021

“I have many relatives who have been martyred. I have been living alone for many years, my daughters have gotten married, I only have one son and he's married a Persian lady. A couple of years ago, I became familiar with medicinal herbs, he/she told me to collect some for them, and I started searching everywhere and collected many kinds of it. All of my life became about collecting herbs, and many people are amazed by how much I have collected. Nevertheless, I go to a different place each day, and bring whatever I can get my hands on. I only have place for myself to sit down in my house. I can sell any of these for 15 to 20 Iranian tomans. I don't need anyone and I actually help my children, too”. ...

January 16, 2021

“If you are born blind, you'll get used to it easier, but I believe that God won't put anything in your way unless it's written for you. Also, whether you're disabled or not, you'll leave this life, but it's important to stay faithful until you die. Thank God for the time that I could see, during my young ages, I had never hurt anyone and even until I was married my life had been pretty great, and once I lost my sight, I trained myself to recognize the things around me. I met many people while I was working, I recognize some people just by hearing their voices. In 1976, I was serving in the army with someone, we lost contact for forty years, and the moment I heard him I recognized him. I also had a classmate three years ago, we met again a while ago and I instantly recognized him by his voice”. “I go to the mosque in the morning, and go back home and take a shower, I never wake anyone to change my clothes, and I can also shave and take my clothes with me to the shower. I can even recognize which piece of clothing is which. True, it's been a long time since I've lost my sight, but I can still recognize colors, I know that in fall leaves turn yellow, and they turn green in the spring. I know what's red and what's white, and I can also recognize things by touching them. I also dream like I did before losing my sight. For example, I had met a gentleman wearing a suit, and I still see him in my dreams, or I had seen a woman wearing Kurdish clothes, and I still see her in my dreams. I still have my sight in my dreams, and see everything as they used to be. After losing my sight, my boys have gotten married, I always ask what they look like, and they answer by saying that the look like a certain person. My memory is pretty good, I can go on the street and walk and I wouldn't need anyone”. ...

January 15, 2021

“When I was 12 years old, my family forced me to quit school due to struggling financially, and due to the traditions in the family. I was cut off from education and that had a lot of negative effects on me, I wasn't the same as the other girls anymore, but I was still reading novels and stories because I really liked them. I registered at a Kurdish language learning course after the Rojava revolution, I finished three levels of the course and decided to become a teacher, but one of the staffs told me I cannot because of my age. It was pretty upsetting, I felt like all of my dreams and wishes were crushed and I couldn't do anything in life. After a long while, my daughter was applying for college, I went with her to complete the paperwork, and I told my story to the person in charge there. He asked me to apply as well, I was extremely happy, and felt like I had hope again. My family and husband supported me when they knew I can finally reach my goals. I now go to the same university my daughter goes”. ...

January 14, 2021

“My father had this shop, when people's teapots, portable fireplaces were broken, he would fix them. This is after people started using gas for fire because they used to use logs and coal before. I was always going to the shop with my father, after a while I started to do this job full-time and I'm still doing it. My job is very risky because I have to work with smoke or use chemicals or acid, so I have to be very careful. People have moved on to newer devices such as teapots that work with gas or electric teapots, and that's affected my job negatively, but I'm still thankful to God. I appreciate the fact that I can make a living for my family and myself”. ...