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“That’s why you always see her with a smile.”


Raghd is her mother tells us their story, Aja watches us, looking a bit shy. However, when our eyes meet, she smiles, and it’s her who draws our attention to the arm she is missing. 

“When she was born, my little girl was completely healthy but her left forearm was missing. I hadn’t noticed it before because I’d never had an ultrasound. The examinations and tests here must all be paid for and I can’t afford to have them as well as look after four children alone.”  

In 2017, when clashes in Mosul between government and anti-government forces intensified, she and her children barricaded themselves in the house for three months because they were terrified. They had nothing to eat and the only water they could drink was from the well in front of the house. Her husband never came back during those months. As soon as she could, Raghd went out to look for him. Less than a month later, she found him in the morgue of a hospital in the city: he and his brother had been killed by anti-government forces during the fighting.  

“I’ve been widowed. I’m a seamstress, to support my children, but that’s not enough for all the expenses I have to bear. So when I heard about the free service that EMERGENCY provides in cooperation with the Rehabilitation Centre in Mosul, I did not hesitate to come forward. Aja was so happy, and I was confident too.”  

In our Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration Centre in Sulaymaniyah – which offers free-of-charge prostheses, physiotherapy, rehabilitation and vocational training courses to patients injured by war and landmines – we have built a prosthesis for Aja’s arm.  

The story of Raghd and the love she has for her daughter is the story of mothers all over the world.  She tells us before saying goodbye: 

“I don’t know what will happen in the future, but whatever does happen, I know that my daughter’s life will change for the better and that’s the important thing. That’s why you always see her with a smile.” 

Photo Credit: Francesco Pistilli

EMERGENCY’s Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration Centre in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, is funded by EU ‘European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations’ (ECHO).