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Nahid's story

Nahid's story


Nahid fled from Iraq to Syria to Libya

receiving psycho-social and mental health support

Mother of three|Leaving Iraq|Libyan Revolution

Nahid picture

Nahid Hassan, 65, was born and raised in Baghdad and where she worked as an Arabic language teacher for over 14 years. She is also a mother of three, and a grandmother.

The year 2007 marked the height of the sectarian conflict in Iraq, “When it all happened, people were being dragged out of their houses. All I was thinking was praying to God that no one knocks on my house.

Nahid’s husband became very ill and was taken to the hospital in Baghdad. “I asked my neighbour to say that our house is an empty house, just to make sure my sons and daughter will not be harmed while I visited their sick father at the hospital. I didn’t know death had taken him, but it was God’s will to lose the love of life.”

Leaving Iraq

“My husband and the father of my beloved children, succumbed to a heart attack in a cold hospital bed. I knew that nothing would ever be the same without him. And what was worse was that I had to bury him on my own. No one was there. Not even my children knew until after the burial had been complete.”

Iraq at this time was a dangerous place for a family without an adult man in the household and so Nahid was helped to leave Iraq by her neighbours to escape the escalating violence.

“I packed my things and my important papers in bags and put them in his car. It was first thing in the early morning, walking by dead bodies of people we knew, but we had to go on our way. After a long trip, we reached the Syrian border, but it was shut down for three days. For three days we had to sleep in the open air with no tents or food and water. Three days of torture, until we were actually able to cross the border.”

After several years in Syria, Nahid and her family were once against forced to flee for their lives from the conflict engulfing that country. International Medical Corps met Nahid in 2013 at a Community Development Centre in Zulten, Libya.

These centres provide psycho-social services, financial support, mental health and medical services, with a free pharmacy on site, non-food items (NFIs) such as diapers, kitchen sets, school bags, and many other forms of support to refugees living inside Libya.

“Things didn’t get better for us after the Libyan revolution. It feels as though we ran from one war to fall into another one.”

Both my sons lost their jobs, and are now returned to sleeping next to each other in one small bedroom. Facing eviction from the house that we all live in and share together, we are forced to make decisions about uprooting and relocating elsewhere. We have no plan, very little money and rely solely on the support we get here at the community centre. We are worried about what the future holds.”

After so much suffering and loss, Nahid is now receiving psycho-social and mental health support from International Medical Corps’ experts in Libya. They are working with her and her family to find coping mechanisms in the difficult environment they now find themselves in.

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