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.

December 1, 2023

“My name is Sharbat Ramzaniy, and I’m from Palangan village in Kamyaran. My mother has been a strong and artistic woman; she has taught me many crafts and arts since 15. Today, only my mother and I can knit chenille blankets. Anyone who wants to learn how to do it must come to my mother to teach them. Thank goodness, I make a living on it, it makes me busy, and I also feel proud to know an old style of Kurdish art that is about to be forgotten. I know so many art crafts that if there’s one new to me, I just observe it, and then I’ll start doing it and learn right away. This has made me known as a strong and artistic woman.” ...

January 4, 2023

“My name is Hussein Abida, and I’m 50 years old. I live in Tall Tamr in the area of conflict between the Kurdish forces, the Turkish army, and its Islamic proxies. Even though our village is semi-continuously facing bombardment from Turkish forces, my family and I have not left our home and will not leave. Leaving your village and home is difficult; I can stay in the village and bear the bombardment, but I won’t go to the camps and live in a tent. The bomb fragments are on the roads of the village all the time. I pray every day for god to bring peace and security to Rojava and Syria and for the war to end.” ...

January 11, 2023

“I don’t remember being jealous of anyone, but since I have gotten old and unable to walk, I’ve started being jealous. When I see people standing on their feet and praying to God, I become jealous of them. Sometimes, I feel embarrassed when I pray while sitting. I’m in front of a being that only he is omnipotent and all-powerful. And from the beginning to the end of times, this is all his domain. The pleasure of faith is felt by only those who are honest in their love for God. There are many ways to get closer to the Lord, but prayer is the most gratifying one for me.” ...

December 18, 2022

“In the 80s, when the school in our village closed down, we couldn’t travel for hours on foot to attend the school in the city. Consequently, I dropped out of school in fifth grade. I started helping my father in Chia Sumac, we picked apples, and our livelihood depended on these products. I got older and became a stonecutter in the early 2000s, and we were building houses. From then, my life blended with hammers and stones. Now, if I only look at the stone, I know if it will be useful for building or not. My work is tough, and I work eight hours daily; I suffer during the night because of the pain in my hands and shoulders. However, I’m still happy because the food I bring to the table for my children is the fruit of my labor.” ...

December 6, 2022

“Even though obesity is genetic, I can’t have that as an excuse to ignore my body. The difficult conditions force me to spend most of my time in my restaurant. I wish I have the chance to work out daily. Right now, instead of workouts, I have organized an intake plan for myself, and I’m currently on a great diet plan. Friends often tell me, “How can you quit rich-in-fat foods and carbohydrates while you are a kebab chief and prepare many delicious dishes every day for the customers?” We have to realize that life is not all about eating. Health and a fit body are more important. What good is delicious food when you can’t wear something fitting to you and suffer from tens of illnesses? It is true that I mostly eat fruits and vegetables, but I’m glad that I’m healthy and looking after my body.” ...

November 27, 2022

“There were days when no one in this city could compete with me in lifting weights, but now, I tear up for how weak I have become. If I tell people that I used to one-hand lift a gunnysack of flour, they might not believe me, but you can ask all of the old-time porters or people my age; they were all witnesses to my challenges. I lifted a 50-kilo gunnysack of flour, and that’s why I tattooed the number 50 on my arm. Now, I can’t even lift a kerosene heater or a gas bottle, but I’m thankful to the Lord for being healthy and not ill. Old age doesn’t shy from anyone.” ...

November 16, 2022

“I opened a tailor shop in the 60s, and I’m considered the oldest tailor in Akre who is still in the profession. I learned this work from my ancestors, and they learned from the Jews. In return, I taught my children, and now they have shops too. Besides them, I have taught this profession to 70 women, and now their livelihood is on it. I remember many old artists, such as Tahsin Taha, Ardawan Zakhoiy, and Fuad Ahmad, who used to come to me to tailor their attire. During Newroz and holidays, people visit me for traditional Kurdish clothes from everywhere. This gives me a great feeling of accomplishment because it means I’ve been doing my job flawlessly and that it has reached this state.” ...

November 24, 2022

“I’m a nomad. I have been shepherding for 45 years. I opened my eyes among the animals. The nomad way of life is inherited from our ancestors. Our life is on these plains and mountains. All our lives are spent in the mountains and tents. My two children were born in a tent in the mountains. No matter how amazing migration looks from the far, it has many challenges and difficulties. With the arrival of the Spring, we go from Şirnak mountain by mountain to the border towns. Because of meadows and pastures, we take our herd, sheep, and cattle, to the plateaus near the borders. We stay there for five months and then return to Şirnex along the same route. During January, we stay in tents in the mountains of the Hezex district of Sirnak. Our livelihood is based on sheep and cattle.” ...

January 8, 2023

“I studied at the College of Electronics at university. I've never worked in this field, even after graduation. Instead, we bought land in our area and created a self-sustaining environment. I spend most of my days here with the land, with trees and crops. I know that nature is the cure for all ailments. It makes me very comfortable and happy, and I also take pictures. When taking pictures in my village and talking to the villagers, I learned that local seeds are now very scarce. This issue hurt my heart. I decided that when I go to the village, I will collect local seeds and bring them to plant in my garden. I collected dozens of local seeds and will plant them in the spring. I'm still collecting. And later, I will distribute them to the villagers and farmers. I want everything to be natural as before.” ...

January 15, 2023

“I am from Erzirom. My husband and I work as blacksmiths for our livelihood and make sculptures to fulfill our dreams. I know everything related to iron. My profession is one of the hardest ones. Iron vibrates with love because it is heated by fire. They make me very happy. I have a unique view here. I try to create products that show the unity of nature and people. I also try to show the state of women in today's conditions. My main profession is fashion, but I bring fashion to life in a different way.” ...

December 13, 2023

“I’m 12 years old and from Serê Kaniyê. We abandoned our home, fearing Turkish bombardments, and became IDPs in Al Hasakah. Now, we live in a small house on the farm, which my father toils in. I dropped out of school to help my dad. On the holidays, I help him irrigate the farm, and I work as an automobile mechanic for the rest of the days. My hands are always dirty because of oil, as I work simultaneously as a mechanic and a farmer. I love school, but since living conditions are difficult, my father can’t provide for all our needs alone. I have to work too.” ...

November 20, 2022

“My name is Hadda Dawd, and I’m in my 80s and from Sarekani. During the attacks of the Islamic forces and Turkish army in 2019 on Sarekani, we left the area to save ourselves. However, my son was martyred while defending the city. The news was so heart-wrenching, and I was a refugee at the same time. I didn’t know to worry about what. Since becoming refugees, we have been relocated to the Washokani Camp in Al Hasakah, and we are still waiting for the news of our return. Our sorrow has exceeded all boundaries; being away from our homeland is difficult. Three years after being in the camp as a refugee, I started building a room out of mud to protect us from the coldness of winter, which would reach us soon.” Hasakah | @vimfoundationkrd ...