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.

August 18, 2022

“I’m 55 years old, and I’m from Palangan village. Since childhood, I have been involved in traditional women’s works, making duvets, tambourines, and cotton ropes. My uncle bought a sewing machine for the family, and when he noticed how much I liked it, he gifted it to me, and I became the family's seamstress. In the old days, it was a common practice for people who needed sewing work to call the seamstress over to their home once a year and sew their cloth there. Previously, we only had a few men who worked as seamsters. When they came over and worked on their manual treadle sewing machines, I observed their way of work and learned their techniques. Thus, I became the only seamstress in the village. I got married in the solar year 1363 (1984-5 Gregorian calendar), and my husband died a year later. I was pregnant at that time. Since then, I have covered the family’s expenses by working as a seamstress; half of the people of the village come to me for their sewing needs as they’re satisfied with my work. Personally, I wear the old style of Kurdish clothes, and now people want to wear those styles too and revive them”. ...

April 3, 2022

“My name is Kafia Ahmadi and I am 105 years old. The drought has reduced agricultural production in recent years so I was forced to divide my lands among my children and I stopped gardening. Recently, I started knitting socks and making colorful blankets and dolls. They have become like my mother and sister now. I don’t waste any time; I spend all my time making these, and tourists find them fascinating. Because of the high demand, I ask my grandchildren to make them for me, then give them a portion of the profit. I have around 150 grandchildren who happily come to see me and are proud of me”. ...

April 27, 2022

“My name is Snoor and I’m 30 years old. After finishing primary school, I started experiencing some body-functioning complications caused by nervous system dysfunction. After a while, it made me entirely unable to stand on my feet. My sister also suffers from this disorder. Movement is extremely difficult for us; my mom has dedicated her life to aiding us. In recent years, drawing and painting have given me so much power, so much that I spend my days practicing to improve and gain more from it. Even though it takes me longer to finish a painting, mingling with the colors has broken the boundaries for me, and I can overcome the limitations of this disorder. I hope that I will be able to open a solo exhibition one day, showcase my artworks to people and gain their support so I can be stronger”. ...

May 29, 2022

“My name is Rahman Taqi Zada, and I am 86 years old. I’m from the city of Shno in the Iranian Kurdistan. In my youth, I became familiar with Kurdish singers through radio, especially Hassan Zirek and getting to know him became an obsession for me. No one knows singer Hassan Zirek as much as I do as he stayed with me for three months. I gave him a room in my house and I was at his service. Everyone in Shno knows this. Having been with him in person, I was able to see a significant portion of his life up close and documented them in books for his audience.Sixty-four years ago, I started recording the contemporary singers of that time for the sole reason of my enjoyment at the radio stations. Now, I consider myself to have one of the most extensive archives of Kurdish singers. I have an immense archive that includes the oldest musical and visual instruments to the most modern ones”. ...

June 15, 2022

“This style of yoga that I have chosen to practice is called Ashtanga Yoga, one of the most distinct styles of yoga. I dropped out of college to learn yoga and lived alone for two years in Tehran. I’m so pleased to support those practicing yoga in my city and share my experience with them. I have opened a beautiful yoga club in Sanandaj for two years now, and most of the time, I practice outdoor as nature affects me. What I did, made me famous as a boundary-breaking woman. Once I mastered it and dedicated time, it taught me so many things. Yoga is a special sport for the soul and the body. It can have an effect on bodily illnesses too. My sister was in a lot of pain when she had a migraine, but she got better because of this sport”. ...

July 17, 2022

“My name is Jawad; I’m from Dolaw village in the Sanandaj district. I grew up with bees and beekeeping from childhood. I used to do beekeeping in the same fashion my father and uncles did. As I grew older, I started beekeeping academically and treated the bees the same way. I dedicated a lot of time and effort to it, and in a matter of three years, I became an exemplary beekeeper in the Kurdistan province. In the year 1398 of the Solar Hijri Calendar, I became the exemplary beekeeper in all of Iran.I have learned a lot from bees, such as discipline, cleanness, and calmness.Bees don’t live long, but they work and toil for the duration of their life. Most of the works that bees do are similar to what humans do. To be a beekeeper is to be away from the city and instead be at the heart of nature. It has its highs and lows.” ...

July 27, 2022

“Previously, I was a photographer, the first certified woman photographer in Marivan. Now, I have a café shop; again, I’m the first female café shop owner in Marivan. I have always tried to prove that gender doesn’t determine the skills and abilities of people; men and women are equal in every aspect. Working on proving this in a patriarchal society that indoctrinates you from childhood, claiming that you are a woman and therefore ‘you cannot, it’s shameful and not possible,’ has not been an easy task. Women should be vigilant, act against oppression and enforcement, and thrive for freedom and independence. Working is the first step towards independence, a woman that works has her own vision, and a woman with vision won’t accept subjugation. I am a woman and hope for a just and equal society in all aspects”. ...

March 13, 2022

“Ever since I was a child, I have been interested in art. I was a presenter and acted in plays in primary school. I hold a master's degree in geography. I studied cinema at the Youth Cinema Society in Sanandaj when I was there on a military occasion. I grew up in a community and family where my chances of becoming a director were one percent and I fought hard for that one percent. I am very into documentary film and have produced four documentaries so far. Although I grew up in the beautiful nature of Hawraman, my love for this nature did not make me think only of the enchantment of this nature and forget about the pain and suffering of the community. So the cases of Kolbars (porters), migration of youth to Europe and the hardships of life in the borders have been reflected in my films. I have also photographed and documented fifty villages in Hawraman and Mariwan so far". ...

February 27, 2022

“After our village was named among the historical villages in Iran which is crucial for tourism, I saw that the villagers are very aware of that and are busy working in that field. I also needed a job so that I could be independent and get a financial benefit from it. For the first time as a woman, I started to rebuild and decorate my parents’ house, which had been empty for about 10 years and was about to be demolished, and I turned it into a house for tourists. In Iran it is called (Bom Gardi), a place where tourists feel like they are at home. I have adorned it as before with antique furniture. In the same year that I prepared the house, I was able to take the first place in Bom Gardi in the Sanandaj’s inheritance. I’m really delighted because I’m the first woman in our village to do something like that. Now me and my family all work together”. ...

October 21, 2021

“I have been a plastic arts teacher for children ever since I was 19 and I enjoy cooking, designing, and painting. The children call me “miss Soreia”. They love me very kindly. My marital life damaged both my art and my own being. It caused me a world full of melancholy and I did not leave the house for two months. But I started once again and this time, with a new style. I rented out a small space which was in a basement. I taught lessons and would paint there. I stayed there for 3 years and the number of my students exceeded 100 students. The basement was no longer responsive. I received the license for an industrial school and prolonged it in an official form. So far, 15 of my students have received acknowledgment diplomas and international gold medals in Belarus, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Japan, Spain. My only wish is for my children’s exhibition to be opened in every city. In my dreams, I travel by bicycle, take on photography and write about the food and the spices of the cities I have not been to”. ...

October 5, 2021

“From early childhood up to now, I have walked through an arduous path in life. Despite all the difficulties I have witnessed, I believe that I have been successful. But I am never satisfied because I feel as though I do not have much expertise. I have a doctorate degree in Urban Planning, although generally, I do not believe in educational levels. Solely 29 years of service in the education sector as a school teacher calms me down a bit. I feel as though I am at the first stage of pragmatic ideology development and I have a long road ahead of me. I immensely value advancing tourism. Hawraman region, which is where I live, is a suitable platform for the development of adequate tourism propositions. Perhaps this was the reason why I pursued an education in Urban Planning of the city with an exceptional vision for tourism evolution. I strive to leave trails for the future of the children of Kurdistan in this region”. ...

September 15, 2021

“We are spouses, we have studied the English language academically and our occupation is teaching the English language. We have always been concerned regarding the withering of our mother tongue (the Hawrami Language), which is unfortunately due to the lack of media; it has caused the speaker to forget the Hawrami language, which is our native tongue. Most of the time, we would observe that Hawrami children shy away from speaking because their Sorani dialect is not fluent. Last year, we wanted to initiate something different to revive the Hawrami language, in a form where the future children and youth are not self-conscious of being Hawrami, and are well aware of their language and culture through scientific methods and hold their heads high”. “As the first two individuals who walk on this path, my wife, who holds a Master’s degree in linguistics and is a Hawrami native, publishes English – Hawrami videos through social media platforms (Instagram). For the second phase, we uploaded the villages and the resorts of Hawraman in English-Hawrami, in the form of a short documentary on Instagram about the residents of the villages, resorts, the construction, the differences between the villages in the aspects of language and behavior, the ceremonies, the religions of Hawraman to introduce them to the world, alongside introducing the language. The third phase, which is our latest project, is establishing the first motion-picture dictionary in Hawrami-English”. ...