Though she joined school five years late, this has not stopped Shukria Khalaf to get a degree.
Shukria is from the village of Khanasor of Shingal district, home to ethno-religious minority of Ezidis. She led a simple life, painting from one side and running a beauty salon on the other side.
She was born in 1991. Following IS invasion of Shingal and Mosul in August 2014, she fled to Zakho district of Duhok province in the north.
She kept going to school till she got diploma in pharmacy. Now she is happy to serve her locals in Shingal.
When joined class 1, she was 11 years ld. It was difficult for her but she never gave up her dreams of education and getting a degree.
When she was in the secondary school, she was fired because of her age. She decided to join alternative education. She had a beauty salon in her village when she was in high school.
Shukria is a talented painter and her firs exhibition was in 2012 where she presented 50 paintings.
“I was getting but we were living in a safe and calm environment. Our life was sweet and simple till Daesh popped up.”
The house of Shukria was close to the settlement of al-Yarmook (Borak).
“I heard gunfire but it was veery intensive just like winter rainfall. We were told to hide and stay away from fire.”
Family of Shukria manage to flee to Shingal Mount where they were trapped in a one-week siege. “It was the hardest week of my life.” From there, they cross the borders to Syria then back to Iraq. They settle in the district of Zakho in Duhok northern province.
For two years, the 8-member family were living in one room.
“I couldn’t go to school even one day when we were displaced since we were passing a tough financial situation.
Later, she passes high school and joins Duhok Institute, pharmacy department.
Leaving family behind at IDP camp, she is back to the sub-district of Sinuny of Shingal.
“I joined the returnees willing to rebuild their towns. I have a new life among my people. It was difficult but I was strong enough. Life is ongoing so we have to keep going on.”
First, she worked a t a pharmacy and in two years she opens her own. Now she is also employed at Sinuny General Hospital.
Beside education, Shukria worked as a volunteer with local and international aid organizations and till serves people with special needs because “they are marginalized by the government and civil society NGOs.”
“Ezidi women has proven their identity not in Iraq yet to the entire world as she is self-confident and can’t be stopped by difficulties.”
Shukria believes a woman should have plans for her life and families have to support her.