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Rasull Haji (16), Kurdistan Iraq.

Rasull Haji (16), Kurdistan Iraq.

At first sight one would probably picture the young impishly grinning boy together with a group of friends, playing on the soccer field or hanging out in school. The fact that his friends from the neighboring tent dub him ‘the baby’ leads to the assumption that his first impression on fellow refugees must be a similar one. But despite his nickname, Rasull bears responsibilities that aren’t usually attributed to a youngster. Months ago, the 16-year-old left his former life and family in Ranya near Sulaymaiyah in war-torn Kurdistan, Iraq, to make his way to Europe. In October 2015, his journey came to a halt when he arrived in Grand-Synthe Refugee Camp in the outskirts of Dunkirk, France. Like for many others, Rasull’s way into the UK is hindered as much by authorities and the increasing amount of police as it is by the high price smugglers charge for passage.

When he sometimes gets the chance to talk to his parents via phone, Rasull explains, he doesn’t want to further stoke their sorrow and therefore barely talks about his situation as it is - about the lack of food, the cold nights, his makeshift housing and the omnipresent mud. Stranded in France under such living conditions, his dreams for a future in the UK seem all so humble: finish high school and become a pizzaiolo in his own small restaurant.

Filename
MZF_6118.jpg
Copyright
Elian Hadj-Hamdi
Image Size
3819x2541 / 6.2MB
Rasull Haji (16), Kurdistan Iraq.<br />
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At first sight one would probably picture the young impishly grinning boy together with a group of friends, playing on the soccer field or hanging out in school. The fact that his friends from the neighboring tent dub him ‘the baby’ leads to the assumption that his first impression on fellow refugees must be a similar one. But despite his nickname, Rasull bears responsibilities that aren’t usually attributed to a youngster. Months ago, the 16-year-old left his former life and family in Ranya near Sulaymaiyah in war-torn Kurdistan, Iraq, to make his way to Europe. In October 2015, his journey came to a halt when he arrived in Grand-Synthe Refugee Camp in the outskirts of Dunkirk, France. Like for many others, Rasull’s way into the UK is hindered as much by authorities and the increasing amount of police as it is by the high price smugglers charge for passage.<br />
<br />
When he sometimes gets the chance to talk to his parents via phone, Rasull explains, he doesn’t want to further stoke their sorrow and therefore barely talks about his situation as it is - about the lack of food, the cold nights, his makeshift housing and the omnipresent mud. Stranded in France under such living conditions, his dreams for a future in the UK seem all so humble: finish high school and become a pizzaiolo in his own small restaurant.