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Arab IDP girl top student at Kurdish school
Naba Kamal. Photo: KirkukNow

They refused and said you are old, you are 12 years and we do not have money to buy notebooks and pencils

Arab IDP girl top student at Kurdish school

  • 2020-02-08

A shy displaced Arab girl goes to a Kurdish school and asks, “teacher, please register me….my dad has left us and my grandfather was killed.”

This is how Naba Kamal, 12, in an early morning broke her shyness. Naba neither wanted to give up and nor did she want to be further deprived of her education.

Striving for her education comes after appealing to her mother and grandmother several times for registering her in Sheikh Langar Elementary school but her appeal was neglected.

Naba’s family left their village in Miqdadiyah, Diyala province, and moved to Kalar district, Sulaymaniyah in 2014 when extremist groups murdered her grandfather and her father was likely to have the same fate if stayed in the village.

Back then, Naba was not old enough to be registered in an elementary school.

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Kalar, Naba listens to her teacher with her classmates, February 2020. Photo: KirkukNow 

Her family could not afford living in Kalar district and moved to the Kurdish village of Sheikh Langar

Her parents negligence, financial difficulties and lack of an Arabic school were barriers to Naba to education. Nevertheless, Naba did not give up.

Naba said, “I used to cry in front of my mother and grandmother in order to admit me to school, but they refused and said you are old, you are 12 years and we do not have money to buy notebooks and pencils.”  

I used to cry in front of my mother and grandmother in order to admit me to school

Sarkaw Abdul Wahab, principal of Sheikh Langar Elementary school, stated, “it was the beginning of the new acadamic year, I was in the playground and saw a shy and shaking girl, who was wearing home clothes and was being pushed toward me by her friends.”

That girl was Naba Kamal who tried to reach the principal herself after being disappointed in her parents.

“She approached me and asked: Teacher, would you accept it if I come to your school and study? she was fearful and loudly said I am an Arab IDP,” said Abdul Wahab.

She was fearful and loudly said I am an Arab IDP

At the beginning, Wahab apologized because the school is Kurdish and Naba is older than a first-grade student. However, he noticed that her Kurdish was fluent and she was eager to study. He was surprised.

“Naba was begging and explained her problems and her misery… she illustrated that her grandfather was killed and her father has left home for five years and has not come back,” this appeal and Naba’s Kurdish language skills convinced Wahab to change his decision.

Later, Wahab told Naba to visit him the day after and bring her and her mom’s IDs. Naba became happy and laughingly started walking home with her friends,” Wahab said.

Naba was admitted to the school and started studying. Likewise, with the financial help of some teachers and people of the village, she bought her school necessities.

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Naba is spekaing to KirkukNow reporter, Layla Ahmad.

“When teacher Sarkawt accepted me in his school, I was very happy, the doctor of my village hospital bought me pencils and notebooks. I am very glad in this school,” Naba expressed her happiness.

Naba has a bitter story and still suffers from displacement, losing her grandfather, and her father’s awayness.

 Naba explained that her father lives in Baghdad. Naba has two sisters and two brothers and she is the only student of the family.

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Naba plays with the students

“I remember when my grandfather was killed. Several gunmen shot him and later my dad said we should leave Miqdadiyah. When we came to Sheik Langar village, my dad said he will go to Baghdad for a work but he never came back and is now married to another woman. I have not seen my dad for five years and his image no longer exists in my eyes,” Naba demonstrated her suffering to KirkukNow.

However, Naba is successful and plays with her friends. Not only Naba helps her friends with their school works but she is also the top student. 


Layla Ahmad- Kalar


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