Invisible lives: Noor Hussain

“I left Syria because of the bombs and came here with my brother. We set off by car till we got to the border, then the Peshmerga helped us by bringing buses and giving us food and water. My father and mother are still in Syria.

“I don’t have any family members to help me so I have to work. I came here from Syria with savings – 100,000 Syrian pounds ($460). But now I’m in debt. I don’t want to have to depend on anyone else. I can’t get this medicine if I don’t have money. And I can’t see if I can’t get this medicine. I saw that the supermarket had opened so I came here and asked for work. I asked one of the people that already worked here. But I’m worried that my eyesight has become so bad that from now on I can’t work anymore.

“My dream job would be as a humanitarian assistant but I don’t know what standards they’re using to recruit and why I don’t qualify. There are restaurant jobs in Erbil, from 4pm to midnight. I could get one of those jobs but my brother won’t let me.

“Here they are talking a lot about girls who go out till midnight and come home late. They are saying that maybe she’s not working in ‘clean’ work. My brother said: ‘If you go, I will kill you.’ Things have changed so much. In Syria I was working till 9 or 10pm. I was wearing whatever I wanted. But here I am not free.

“All the other people here are also from Syria but they’re now talking in a different way. Back there, we were living as you do in Europe. We were free, with no one noticing what you are doing, but in the three years I’m living here I didn’t go out of the camp even once for anything other than my medicine.

“Even then, I take a bus and taxi to the doctor in Erbil and I’m back in a little over an hour.”

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