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.

September 21, 2021

“Back in the day, the Syrian regime did not accept Kurdish education. Anyone who would study Kurdish would get seized or abducted. This is what my father used to inform me of when I was a child. But with the beginning of the revolution in Rojava, the foundation of establishments and agencies, and evicting the Syrian regime in 2012, the procedures for teaching the Kurdish curriculum were initiated, and I started learning in Kurdish. I did my utmost to succeed with the support of my family because my parents were teachers. I was successful in my Baccalaureate assessments and received first place in the city of Qamishli. At the present moment, I am studying medicine at Rojava University in Qamishli, with the intent to help the people of my city”. ...

September 20, 2021

“My father was the mosque’s Imam. Since I grew up in a religious family, I walked in their footsteps and studied Islamic Law during my adolescent years. Later on, I became an Imam. But 70 years ago, in light of my liking and passion for fixing clocks, I decided to open a shop and provide for myself. My father once told me, “My son, I know you very well, you do not take money from people in return for your hands’ exhaustion. This will cause financial damage.” But I told him that even if I don’t receive money, I will open a store and serve people. Therefore, my father agreed, and I have started this work ever since until now. After my father’s death, I returned so I could become an Imam, from then on up until today, I fix clocks and work as an Imam in a mosque as well. Now, my eyes are getting frail and that has weakened my business, but even so, I still keep going. I have surpassed various conditions but stayed committed to my job, my identity, and my work as the mosque’s Imam remained”. ...

August 31, 2021

“I was a school principal for more than 40 years. Our salary was very little at the time, and regardless of that, I did not quit working. I was teaching because of my passion for it. In 2019, the army of the Muslims who operated under the Turkish flag entered Serê Kaniyê and demolished the village. We had to migrate and move locations. My condition worsened when I moved to a camp. I had nothing left with me. Our village was destroyed and I strayed far from it. I was old and have so many long-term illnesses that I cannot even leave the tent. I reminisce about my youth very often. I have had illnesses for 20 years. I have married twice but God did not grant me any children. Despite that, I believe in God and say, “Thank you, God”. ...

August 28, 2021

“I grew up in a socially accepting family. One day, 3 years ago, I was watching the Ms. Musical Ensemble during the national formal ceremonies. I was mesmerized by their adequacy, costumes, and discipline. This motivated me to practice and join this ensemble. My family did not hold me back, they even supported me. I accomplished my dreams when I participated and became one of the group’s elementary members. Now, I participate in every formal ceremony. I faced a lot of backlash from society because I am a female, but my family was supportive and I had faith in what I was doing, so I did not respond to the criticism. From this moment on to the Western revolution, which was also a revolution for women, they were able to partake in every sector; they became the holder of their own free will”. ...

July 12, 2021

“After Turkey bombarded Sarekane, we abandoned our home and resided in Al-Hasakah. Due to the immigration and discomfort, our financial status went downhill. I was not even able to purchase necessities for my family and children and my home was lacking various pieces of equipment. A friend of mine suggested to help us with a sum of money, so I could purchase a trolley and a popcorn machine and sell popcorn in Al-Hasakah. My friend sold his car immediately since he did not need it and gave me the money. I bought the trolley and began selling popcorn all over the city. I returned the money to my friend within 3 months and was able to purchase essentials for my house. All thanks to my companion who sold his car to help me overcome my struggles. I start working from 4 PM in the afternoon to 1 AM at night because people prefer to eat popcorn at night when they are roaming the city. I have customers from every age range; from 2-year-olds to 70-year-olds”. ...

July 10, 2021

“I have been riding bicycles ever since I was a child. But as I grew older, I noticed that people view women who ride bicycles differently. So, I bought a bike to ride to work and back. I decided to launch a project titled “I Want a Bicycle” and several other girls participated. As the first tread, I arranged a marathon in Amuda city during the Elimination of Violence against Women day. We received a great deal of praise from people and women in particular. I broke the shackles of fear and shame by riding a bike. Our object is to increase confidence amongst women through this program. There are still people who are against the project and look over us in mockery but we believe in ourselves and our determination is imperishable”. ...

July 4, 2021

“I was 2 years old when my mother passed away, Therefore, my eldest sister was obligated to raise us. She would wash our clothes, and wake up early in the morning to prepare breakfast for my father and us. She was like a mother to us. We never felt like our mother had gone, because she would do all the things a mother would do. After 4 years of raising us, my sister got married. My father remarried to another woman who would treat us heinously most of the time. After a while, my youngest sister and I went to live with our brother. Life was not fine with him and his wife either, but she was better than our step mother. Later on, my sister and I got married. I am now a mother to 3 girls and 3 boys; I have become a grandmother as well. As for the tattoos on my face, the majority of Kurdish women have tattoos on their faces. I was 5 years old when my eldest sister tattooed my chin before she got married. I was still a child and did not want to be tattooed; but later on, I tattooed my hands as well. Nowadays, women do not tattoo their faces. That practice is almost vanishing and fading away”. ...

June 8, 2021

“Certain financial circumstances have led me to pursue jobs that were more on the masculine side. My husband was a worker, but he was left without a job during the war. Nobody wanted to build houses or buildings during those unfavored conditions. This prompt me to start working in order to get by and feed my family. I started selling basic items on my child’s trolley and I would roam the streets to sell them. I would hold my child with one hand and would push the trolley with the other. Things started getting better, so I bought a piggy bank to collect money and buy a pair of earrings for my only daughter. Later on, I decided to purchase a 3 wheeled motorcycle, because my customers were requesting more items and I could not fit them on my trolley. I did not have the required amount of money, so I had to use the money I had saved up for my daughter and it still was not enough. We borrowed the remaining amount of money and bought it; I learned how to drive it in just a couple of days. Afterwards, my husband received work as well”. “I started working on the three wheeled motorcycle constantly and wandered everywhere in Al-Hasakah to provide and earn a living for my family. My husband was a great support for what I was doing but not all of our relatives and neighbors were exactly on the same page. Some of them were very opinionated and disagreed with what I did and told me that women were not meant for certain jobs, while others rooted for me and were very supportive. It has been 10 years since I have started providing for my family. I am so proud of myself and my will power.I sell blocks of ice during the Summer and fruits and vegetables and children’s necessities throughout Winter. Anytime my motorcycle breaks down, I fix it myself. I do not want my children to be slaves of tradition and norms. I was able to enhance my family’s financial status. There is absolutely no humiliation or shame in what I do. If it was not for this job, who would have reached out and lent me a helping hand? My determination to work has given me the strength I have now”. ...

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”. ...

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 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 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”. ...