It was dark when Peshmerga forces pounded on Raza’s door in the middle of the night and told her husband that they had to flee because ISIS was overtaking the city.
It was dark when they woke their daughters and ran from their home. It was dark when they continued to run from town, on uneven roads. For Raza, it remained dark while they walked for a day and a half, then rode in a truck for one day further. And when they finally reached a safe place to stay, Raza’s family had to tell her they had arrived.
Raza couldn’t see for herself. She is blind.
Before ISIS overran their town and life fell apart, Raza felt safe. She knew her home by touch. She and her husband had systems in place to help Raza function day-to-day and to raise their two daughters. She had a community who knew and loved her. She had the support she needed.
And then…she didn’t.
When they fled, nothing was familiar for Raza. She couldn’t see the source of loud, frightening sounds. She could hear the dialects and accents change the farther from home they traveled, but she couldn’t see landmarks to get her bearings. She had to trust her family for every single step she took.
Today Raza lives in part of a classroom, on the second floor of a school. She and her family are safe, but Raza remains anxious. She is worried about the coming winter and life outside of her familiar home. Her husband is sometimes able to work as a day-labourer to earn a little money, but doesn’t earn enough to provide what the family needs.
We can’t erase Raza’s anxiety, but we can make sure she’s warm and her family is well-fed. Please join us in rebuilding ‘home’ for her as she feels her way forward.
Photo credit: Heber Vega