The house of 12-year-old Noeh in the Iraqi village Karamles is totally burned. When the fighters of self-proclaimed Islamic State fled the village at the end of October 2016, they set fire to as much of the village as they could.
Fire destroyed almost everything inside the house. The walls, the ceiling and the roof survived the heat. Some would say this family was lucky compared to the 97 families that saw their houses completely destroyed during the war against Islamic State. The homes of some 446 other families have been damaged by fire.
“My room is upstairs,” Noeh says. It’s a depressing walk up. Everything is affected by the thick smoke that must have filled the house on the day the IS fighters fled from approaching Iraqi troops.
Suddenly Noeh smiles. He bends down and grabs some marbles. “My marbles! I had many of them.” He starts searching for more. Along one of the walls of his room, he makes some space on the dirty floor for his treasure. Soon he has tens of small marbles and some bigger ones. He smiles. After some time of searching, he is satisfied. He has enough now to start playing with them again.
For almost three years now he and his family have lived as displaced persons in Erbil, Northern Iraq. When Islamic State came in 2014, they had to run for their lives. “After the liberation in October we found out that Islamic State had burned our house. I was very sad when I saw it for the first time.”
The Karamles group mostly stayed together in Erbil. Through one of our partners in Iraq these families were supported with food and other relief items. Support was also given in the form of trauma training, women activities, church events as well as some income generating projects.
Noeh is determined: “I do want to return, this is our land.”
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