Polaroid stories | Hawas, Aiwas, Rionas and Vinas in France

Valia Savvidou

Today he lives in France with his family – his wife and their four children. The relocation of Khalil’s family from Greece to France took place after two years in Greece and a painful trip from Iraq to Europe.

We were trying hard for years to build a life and in two hours we lost everything“.

Khalil speaks about his life in Iraq, a life full of bitterness, as he says, since, almost during all his adult life, he was persecuted by ISIS for religious reasons. He couldn’t endure any more – he got frightened about his children’ life.

They left everything and abandoned their homeland looking for safety in Europe. Before they arrived at Greece, they had to spend two painful years in Turkey, having crossed the mountains on foot for seven days.

They will always remember Greece warmly because the Greeks, as Kahlil says, “showed us respect“. Now the four children go to school and learn French; for Hawas, Aiwas, Rionas and Vinas, their parents say smiling, “they are a gang!”

Today, the parents and the four-member-gang have the whole future ahead of them. We wish them to live safely and always remain open to learning, knowledge and progress.

*Khalil’s family was hosted in the organization’s accommodation structure in Paiania operated under the ESTIA, the Emergency Support to Integration and Accommodation programme, implemented by the UNHCR and funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).