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Photo Feature: 'Without this food, we would have nothing but our faith'

Updated: Aug 8, 2018

Sulaiman (left) receives monthly food rations from Mercy Hands distribution team. © Photography: Daniel Wheeler/MH

HTC Fallujah, April 19, 2018: Sulaiman (pictured above), a former officer in the Iraqi army, tasked with protecting a Syrian Refugee camp near the border, was forced to flee from ISIS with his family.

"If ISIS discovered I was an officer, I would have been executed. They would have shown me no mercy," says Sulaiman. "They took over my house and stole my truck. I had no option but to run."

Father of seven children, Sulaiman initially fled to Turkey and then sought refuge in Erbil, Iraq. When he could no longer afford the high living costs in the city, he brought his family to the internally displaced peoples camp in HTC Fallujah.

Two young boys help Sulaiman transport food rations back to his home. © Photography: Daniel Wheeler/MH

"When I was an officer, I protected a Syrian refugee camp. We made sure they were safe, that they ate, and that they lived with dignity,"says Sulaiman. "The situation here is worse. We live in worse conditions and we are Iraqis in our own country."

Ahmed, Program Manager for Mercy Hands, walks with Sulaiman back to his home. © Photography: Daniel Wheeler/MH

He added, "It's a hard life here. Two of my children suffer from eye problems and need surgery. But we can't afford it, we have nothing."

Sulaiman receives his food rations at his home in HTC. © Photography: Daniel Wheeler/MH

Sulaiman arrived at the camp in August 2017. His house was destroyed during the recapture of his home city and he relies solely on help from NGOs. Referring to the aid packages supplied by the World Food Programme and distributed by Mercy Hands, he says: "It's the only way for us to keep living. It's the only way to survive. Without this food, we would be left with nothing but our faith."

Sulaiman poses with members of his family inside their home. © Photography: Daniel Wheeler/MH


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