Safa and her mother

“My name is Safa and this is my mother Rafif. We are from Mosul in Iraq. Daesh (IS) came to our city and turned our lives into hell, especially for us women. It’s hard to understand why Daesh (IS) is killing people for the most simple things. They killed our neighbor just because he criticized them one time.

Along with us came my sister and my brother. My father had to stay in Iraq. He said that we have to leave the city, because we are his everything and he wants us to be safe. With many other people, we hid in an empty truck to get out of Mosul and to Syria first. Inside the truck, everybody was very scared for their lives and very quiet, only a few little children were crying.

When we reached Syria and the truck doors opened, I could finally breathe deeply again. But I knew getting out of Mosul was only the beginning and the first step of our long way to safety. It took us three weeks until we finally reached Berlin.

We are so happy to feel safe now. We speak to our father and husband on the phone every day and hope he will be able to follow us soon. Besides missing him, we don’t miss much from home and we are focused on our future here. I want to study pharmacy and make my mother proud.

We heard in Europe, the new year will be celebrated with lots of fireworks. We might get scared at first, but then hopefully realize that there is no danger here in Berlin. Every time a plane is passing above us, it’s an unpleasant feeling and it reminds us of the many bombs going down back home.

We meet so many nice people here and already identify with the new culture. Of course the ‘camp’ (the official temporary shelter) we have to live in now, is pretty bad, but nothing compared to how we felt under Daesh (IS) back in Mosul – it can’t get any worse. We are very grateful. Here it is safe and peaceful.”