HER NAME IS AYA
In pursuit of freedom
Dark clouds hovered over Iraq as ISIS tightened its grip on so many regions of the country. Fear of persecution wreaked havoc, while ISIS checkpoints restricted freedom. This state forced so many people to flee, Aya, an 8-year-old at the time was among those attempting to flee. Her father packed some of their belonging and the family attempted to escape to stay with family in a less hostile region. As they were in route, their van was ambushed, the father was executed in front of his wife and children. Their vehicle and belongings were confiscated, and the mother and children were left in the street, in unknown territory without money or means. To describe this as a terrible experience would be unjustly understating.
As the family roamed the street with no food or shelter, hopes of arriving at their destination was slowly diminishing. Despite the cries of her children, their mother persevered, she begged for help from others attempting to escape and finally made it to her husband’s family.
Fortunately, most of us have not had to experience living through war, but to those who have, times can be really trying. As the family moved in with their grandparents, Aya began to realize how much their circumstances have transformed. Money was scarce and room was limited. The children began to miss all the things they once enjoyed, their clothes, toys and their own space. This need and longing left Aya in a state of hopelessness. To be so young and feel so deprived began to feel as though the walls around her, keeping her safe, were now closing in on her.
Subsequently, the dust began to settle after years of war as ISIS began to retreat from the regions they once controlled. Aya is now 12, still living in the same conditions, trying to deal with her experiences and make sense of this world, while everyone around her is also trying to rebuild.
Unsurprisingly, those years of war and undesirable life conditions had a great impact on Aya’s psyche. She grew increasingly hostile and envious of everyone around her, despair ultimately drove her to withdraw from her surroundings in hope of escaping her reality. As her family began to settle in their new norm, they looked for ways to help her out of her state.
Reaching out to Al-Ayn Social Care Foundation proved to be just what she needed. Equipped with qualified professionals to help her, Aya began therapy. In addition, the foundation worked with the family to assist in providing her with further assistance to correct her state of deprivation. This along with the much-needed therapy to help her cope with all she had endured was what she needed to turn a new leaf and begin a new chapter in her life.