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.

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.” ...

November 9, 2022

“In the village, the work is more on the woman's shoulder. We get up early in the morning and work until the evening. The works are all challenging, and one of baking bread. Some days I bake three baskets of bread. The number of baskets increases when we go out to the hills in the spring. For months we stay in the swamps. While there, we do our work still. It isn't easy to make, no matter how tasteful the oven bread is. For hours we stay in front of the fire and inside the smoke. I don't know, but they say this smoke harms human health. Some even say smoke causes cancer. It might be true. Even if it is true for us, we continue making it. There is a danger in making oven bread. If one is not careful, she may fall into the oven. Sometimes we hear that some women fall into the oven and are burnt alive. It really breaks our hearts. That's why we pay much attention when we bake bread.” ...

October 27, 2022

“Year after year, many professions disappear and become forgotten. My profession is one of those disappearing. In the old days, when there were no vehicles, transportation was done by horses, mules, and donkeys. They also needed saddles and carriages. So, carriages were a necessary thing to have. That's why our work was essential. They came to our workshop from far and wide. With the development of technology, there was no need for them, and carriage craft became irrelevant. There used to be many carriage workshops in this market. If I leave, no one will be left, and this profession will disappear and be forgotten. This truly makes me so sad.” ...

October 12, 2022

“I used to work in the municipality of Amed. I was fired in 2016. After I got fired, some of my friends and I started farming. We made our first tent here; then we built a house with adobe. We built our workshop, kitchen, and cottage and set up our solar energy. We got drilling and other energy needs entirely from solar power. This way, we can continue our self-sustainable economy. With this environmentally friendly economy, we certainly have products to sell. Our main goal is to collect, preserve and exchange local seeds. We grow fruit trees and keep animals like chickens, cats, dogs, and pigeons. We want to maintain the natural balance”. ...

September 18, 2022

“We spent our childhood taking care of pigeons. We opened our eyes, and they were the first thing we saw. Our parents and grandparents also took care of them. This is a tradition. After me, my children will take care of them. In the past, our house was in a poor neighborhood. The roof of the house was suitable for keeping pigeons. However, that opportunity ceased after we moved to this neighborhood where wealthier people live. Despite all that, I did not give up on my pigeons and brought them to this neighborhood. We built a mobile home for them in the garden. I have been watching them like this for 15 years now. In the beginning, many people in the neighborhood reacted negatively. But once their children came to play with the pigeons, their opinion changed, and they loved them too. I give them water in the mornings and also in the evenings. I fly them. In my opinion, the most beautiful thing to watch is pigeons flying”. ...

September 4, 2022

“There are people living on the street. They stay there, not having money, and they’re usually hungry. When they pass by the factory, they look inside. I know they are hungry but are ashamed to ask. That’s why I wrote on my window, “If you are hungry and have no money, don't be hesitant.” So, this way, pay if you want to take some, but even if you do not, it’ll be halal for you to take. No matter how much they say humanity is dead, we still write that we have hope. It is a year since I have written this. After writing it, many people come to eat and drink for free. Some people pay later, but some cannot. It is all halal. This is also a blessing for me. At least 30 toasts a day are consumed like this. Not everything is money. We are also in need of humanity”. ...

August, 22

“I’m 50 years old and this is my everyday job. For the past ten years, I have been making a living by collecting materials such as plastic, iron, and cables. I have three children, and one of them is kidney disease. I have to work to raise them. That's why I get up at 05:30 in the morning and go on the road on my motorcycle. I go from village to village. Sometimes I return home at 10:00 p.m. I take down the things I have collected from the motorcycle and bring them home. Then I sell them to second-hand traders. The money that I earn is between 70 and 80 lira per day. Some days I return home empty-handed. It does not support us enough. When I pay electricity, water, and food bills, I don't have anything left, but thanks to the neighbors, we make a living. Benevolent people often help us as I can’t make a living with this job alone. During the holidays, my children want new clothes and shoes; unfortunately, I can't buy anything because I can’t afford them. Living conditions are harsh”. ...

March 23, 2022

“I have been working as a blacksmith for 52 years. I began when I was 10 and I am still working. I started in 1969. For 9 years I worked under the supervision of my employer. In 1978, I opened my own factory. In those years, people engaged their children in such works. When we moved from the village to the city, my father brought me to a blacksmith. His name was Ismail. My father handed me over to him and said ‘my son is entrusted to God and entrusted to you’. May God be pleased with him, he loved me very much and taught me blacksmithing. Our work used to be very difficult but the money was good. Our workload decreased by 90 percent after technology advanced and the machines came out. I make axes and billhooks. Mainly villagers around the city are purchasing them. The most important thing of the job is putting the iron in water. Each blacksmith has their own way, some use oil and some use water. I use water. If you don't use water then it is not iron. Each iron goes into the fire 11 times and then we make axes and billhooks. We had 4 employees but due to the economic situation we are now 3 people. That's ...

May 8, 2022

“I have been doing shoe repair work for 35 years. I have ten children who I have raised with this job. I have been repairing shoes since my childhood. There used to be many shoe repair workshops, but now 3-4 workshops remain and a few of the old shoe repairers. We did not have such a machine before; we worked by hand. There were needles, threads, nails, hammers but nothing else. Now the technical conditions are better, but there is no work. Today, one does not bring their shoes here and does not repair them for 15 lira. At that time, people were coming from the village, and there were work. There was no machine, but we had more workload. Things are fine now, but sometimes we wait until the evening and still receive no customers. Twenty years ago, our work was excellent, but in recent years it has decreased. I was going to close my workshop. However, after the economic crisis, the price of shoes increased a lot. Since shoes are so expensive now, residents repair their old ones. Our work is on the road to recovery. Many professions have been lost in history. The shoe repair business was also on the verge of extinction. However, now our profession is certainly getting a lot of attention because of the economic crisis”. ...

June 1, 2022

“When I was young, I was very interested in culture and art. I was drawing, and my teachers were kind to me and were interested in what I was doing. I also gave way to my friend in this art. Personally, I couldn’t continue because of the difficulties of that time. We moved to Mersin and worked as a cartoonist there. Then I came to Mardin and started working with stones. Later in life, I couldn’t work on stones anymore when I got old, so I started carving. I have been doing this for ten years now. When I paint, I try to get to know the culture of Mesopotamia and the Kurds. I made about 200 artworks on Sumer, Assyria, and Medan, such as Ahura Mazda, Shahmaran, Ziha of the Euphrates and Tigris, Dawrêşê Evdî, and Edûl. I still continually work on portraits. I also made portraits of many renowned Kurdish figures. From Eyşe Şan to Mela Mustafa Barzani, I painted many artworks on textiles. Moreover, I am inspired by Kurdish culture; I show this through my art. Besides, I also teach; my door is open to anyone who wants to learn”. ...