Hamo, 21 years old, from Dugur, Sinjar Area, Iraq
"Before Islamic State (IS) came, our life was nice. I went to school; I was in fifth grade (it’s different in Iraq) and my school was good. The nicest thing I remember when I was younger was when I was with my friends, this friendship that I had, how we just went around together having fun, and just enjoyed our life together. My family had five or six shops, some for clothes, some for vegetables. We didn't always work in the shops. Sometimes people worked for us. I worked at the gas station of my uncle’s wife.
On the day IS arrived in our area, we fled to Kurdistan and everything changed. In Kurdistan, we didn’t get much help from people and our situation was difficult. I had fled with my family and a lot of other people. We were always sleeping under trees and in fields. After a month, they transferred us to a camp in Kurdistan, but the conditions in the camp were terrible. We said to ourselves: “we need to flee, from Kurdistan to Turkey”.
And so we left. We stayed one month in Turkey, but then we decided to go to Greece. We crossed the water to come to Greece, but that journey was very hard for us and very dangerous. And then we got stuck in Greece."
Hamo and his family of 10 are now residing at Serres refugee camp, in mainland Greece. But they want to go to Germany, because Hamo’s little brother is living there.
“The situation in Serres is not bad. I wish I could bring all my family members who stayed behind to Serres. I still have a lot of family in Iraq, my uncles and their families. I miss them all a lot. I often talk on the phone with them, and they tell me how bad the situation is over there. I wish we could help them, but we can't help them. I just wish they could reach us and live like we're living here. Our plan wasn't to stay in Serres, it was to move on, but Serres is still a good place to be.”
“I want to reach my little brother. He's alone in #Germany. He's 16. He is living with some Germans and he's been there two years, but he still hasn't got his documents from the German government.”
“I don’t know if I will be allowed to go to Germany because my parents and younger siblings will go through family reunification, but I'm a separate case. My two older brothers and I are separate because we’re over 18.”
"Some friends of mine who were in class with me are right now in Germany. My friends say Germany is very good, the people are helping us a lot. They are telling me they are finally starting to finish school, and they enjoy it a lot.
When I finally get a place where I can stop, settle, where I don’t have to leave again, then I would like to finish my education. I like teachers, I appreciate them a lot. When I finish school, I want to be a teacher too, I want to teach people, maybe in a school, or somewhere else. Just being a teacher and being happy with what I'm doing."
Hamo shares a message he has for the world:
“If I could say right now to the world what I'm thinking and how I feel, I would say get your hands together and helps us to free the women and children and people from IS captivity. It's so hard for us, seeing what they did to our daughters, sisters and wives. This is what I would say. I'm very grateful that you're helping us, and hopefully helping people in Iraq too.”
Photos: Shannon Ashton (Instagram @shannon__ashton) / Story: Kate Hubrich (Instagram @advo_k8)