Dalida, Hadeel, Dana, Shahed, Nazk, Dalida and Ghied have escaped from Iraq because of Isis and are waiting for a visa to America, Canada or Australia. They cannot work, study or even just drive. They have been stripped of all their rights.
Tv2000 chose to tell their story and their redemption through Rafedin, the Amman craft tailor’s shop.
Traffic in Amman is one of the most dangerous things in Jordan 🙂
The girls live mainly in one of the poorest neighbourhoods of the city. The problem of Iraqi refugees in Amman began 4 years ago, when ISIS entered Mosul and expelled all Christians. They flee to Kurdistan and then arrive in Jordan through an airlift
I met Abuna in Bethlehem, I went to volunteer with the children. He would tell us constantly the story of these girls because he was very worried about them
When I met these families for the first time they lived in a living room with only one bathroom and one poorly equipped kitchen. I thought I'd do something about it
Girls between 18 and 20 years old with no job, with nothing to do the whole day. They were losing their dignity
Part of my mission is certainly to give them a little hope
Abuna was concerned all day with getting them something to do
I remembered that I had seen three old Singer machines at the Salesian nuns', from there I got the idea of teaching them how to sew
I accepted the challenge!
“When I entered Rafedin for the first time I expected to find the girls a little sad, instead they were sunny and willing to learn”
A relative of mine told me that there was a workshop in the area where the girls were sewing clothes
At the beginning, I didn't even know how to hold a needle in my hands, after 2 years I sewed a dress for Queen Raya
When I first got there, I said: ''Give me a ball to play and I'll play. But don't give me a sewing needle``
The secret is to all feel part of a large family
We communicate with the girls a little in Arabic, a little in Iraqi, a little in English, a little in Italian 😀
I speak little English, and even less Arabic. But we speak the language of the heart
I also learned to sew, now I am Abuna Ammani to them 🙂
We brought the first clothes to Italy and with the proceeds we started to pay the girls a bit, a small salary to encourage them to come
At the beginning, I improvised, I had a small boutique and some basic knowledge but now Antonella is here to teach them the basics
One day one of my middle school friends called me and asked me if I wanted to go to Jordan and teach girls how to sew. When I got there, I revolutionized everything. They only knew how to sew kefiah
Now we have beautiful fabrics and colours
So many people are now interested in our T-shirts
Do you remember when we were asked for 100 T-shirts? How hard I worked to finish them off...
The first time I saw them thread the needle into the fabric with one hand and pull it with the other, they had used a very long thread because they were afraid they wouldn't make it...
It was the thread of hope. The thread that unites stories, people, East and West
Unfortunately, there is no more room for Christians in Iraq. My brother risked being killed only because he had a crucifix around his neck
I don't want to return to Iraq either, for now I prefer to live somewhere else
When I lived in Iraq I had a salon in the main street, I was a hairdresser, they burned it to the ground. There I made the decision to quit everything and leave...
We had a big house there, with a garden. But home means family and for me it's important to be with them even in just a room
When I arrived in Jordan I had a mental block. The first 3 months I never left home, not even to go to mass. Even if in Iraq I was part of a choir, I didn't sing here anymore. I didn't do anything all day long, I didn't even go near the windows
Now I'm already 27 years old and I don't think about my future anymore, I'm ready to fight everyone so that my daughter doesn't see what I saw!
I, for the future, imagine a living room with many mirrors inside, with many chairs and colours. Bigger than what I had in Iraq
We have suffered so much we just want to continue our life like everyone else!
I dream of being a model, in fact my favourite part of Rafedin are the fashion shows 🙂
We often organize these fashion shows to spread the brand and they are a moment of sharing and carelessness for the girls!
Ghied is the one who takes care of the makeup of all, when we were on a trip to the Petra desert she brought along a suitcase full of make-up and stopped at every bathroom to give herself a touch up
For the first time in three years in Amman we have finally visited Jordan, knowing the country that hosts us
It was a gift from 2 French tourists who got to know their stories, Rafedin and the girls
My daily struggle is not to finish a day without doing something useful for my life and for others. For the future, I remain positive in hoping that one day my dreams will come true...
Made by Iraqi Girls Made by Iraqi Girls is a journey into hope through the strength of women.
Women who no longer know what home is, who do not give up and try to rebuild their future.
A story by Gianni Vukaj
and Antonella Becciu