Shakhwan, 32, lives in the village of Zilkan, in Erbil Governorate. He was a member of the Peshmerga, the military forces of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq who defeated Daesh in 2017.


After a car accident, Shakwan lost the use of his leg and became disabled. He was able to get treatment in Cyprus and Greece, but the steep costs had a huge impact on his financial situation. “When the accident happened, my financial situation worsened considerably. My salary was not enough. People helped me to go to the doctor as I did not have enough money,” he says. “Life is difficult when you become disabled. I stayed bedridden for three years. I became a burden to others, especially my wife. I lost all hope.”

Moving was very difficult, I always needed others to help me and I fell a lot. After the ramp was built, I had two benefits: I use it as a route and I also practice sports.


Thanks to a grant, his family was given two cows, and a shed for them was built. The shed was also connected to a ramp so that Shakwan could access it and help his wife feed and supervise the cattle.

Shakwan’s wife is then able to go to the market and sell milk and other dairy products. “There are other disabled people… they sit in their houses without work… I wish they could also benefit from [the help I received].”

Many civilians have sought refuge in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq due to the Syrian conflict and the fight against Daesh. The region is under increasing pressure to cope with the considerable influx of people needing care and assistance.

© European Union 2018 / Johanna de Tessières

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