Fatima, 37. A single mother from Khansor, I was left to raise my six children alone when my husband left me and remarried. Times were hard, but that was nothing compared to what happened during that dark day in August 2014. As ISIS closed in around us, our plight was doubly difficult, because we had no male figure to protect us or lead us to safety.
Like so many other thousands of families, we climbed up Mount Sinjar, where we had to camp out in the open, without food, water or medical supplies for seven long days. Seeing your own beloved daughter and sons sleeping on stones on the ground without a blanket is surely one of the hardest things any mother could witness. Yet I couldn’t ask anyone around us for help, because they were experiencing exactly the same horror. Word also got around about the terrible fate of many youngsters – including my sons’ friends who were killed after venturing down the mountain to search for food.
After eight days, we left the mountain and headed to the Syrian border, walking barefoot for 10 hours. We remained there just three days before heading to Zakho in Kurdistan, where we moved into a half-built house for six months. There were no doors, windows or furniture, and it was bitterly cold. My children had no warm clothes, and could not sleep because of the freezing temperatures. In all honesty, it would have been easier to die than to see them suffer in this way.
Some time later, we arrived at the Rwanga community, and here we remain today. I am determined to give my children a bright future, which can only be achieved if I work. This is why I’m pleased to be taking part in Sewing Sisters with The Lotus Flower, because at last I have a chance to make that dream come true.