Real lives

I Have Rights

Human Interest Stories














This happened some years ago and remembering the events is always a little bit bitter and sad. But what I’ve learned in the past few years is that life keeps changing and there is no chance to stay where you are and that is why I tell myself I should not give up in this life.


I am a regular student, my name is Hawker Hamad Ameen Hassan. I am 14 years old. I’m currently in sixth grade at Nashtman Primary School. I tell myself I am a regular boy but some people will think differently of me, they will feel sorry for me and ask themselves how do I manage?


I am used to these questions for years now, I have been living with this since my accident. You are probably asking yourself now what I am talking about, let me tell you a little bit about my life and you will understand… I have lost my arms because of a landmine.


Telling about how I lost my arm brings me back to the worst and most hurtful days of my life. I don’t like going back to these hurtful memories again because I promised myself to continue living my life and to fight to stay alive twice as much as others do. I have not lost hope yet and hopefully I won’t.


When I was little my father told us that we had to go to a relative’s wedding. They lived in an area called Shor Tawa in Erbil. We were little so we went out to play outside with a ball. Our relatives lived opposite Faw School, my brother Hawri who is 12 and I went to play in playground of that school. We found some metal things which we started to move out of curiosity and the next thing it all exploded. There were landmines and my brother and I were hurt. I lost my arms and got shrapnel in my chest and my brother lost his left eye. He now uses only his right eye and he still has not given up on life yet, he’s in fifth grade.


My brother and I live with my mother and father and six brother and two sisters. We live in a house at the college of Islamic Law where my father works as a guard. He is the only one who has an income and he works as a bus driver to support us with a little bit more money. Our financial situation is very difficult.


I am not sure how to respond to a question like “what do you need?” I really don’t know how to answer. I only say, for five minutes, not more, close your eyes and imagine yourself in my shoes and living my life and you will know what a family like mine will need. But for myself what I wish for is a pair of prosthetic hands which I can use in my daily life and make me feel like I am a normal boy gain and have a normal life like my friends.


(Hawkar’s story was written with the assistance of a youth worker)



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