Afrah overcomes challenges and barriers

Afrah Ibrahim sits next to two of her paintings during an exhibition. Exclusively shared by Afrah with KirkukNow

By Laila Ahmad

Although Afrah cannot walk on her own feet, she does not let that stop her from moving forward and challenging all the obstacles she faced in order to achieve her goals.

From the age of nine months to six-years-old, Afrah underwent more than seven surgeries on her legs, none of which achieved the results her family expected.

"The surgeries were useless and I lost my legs, then I was obliged to use a wheelchair and couldn't go to school.”

Afrah Ibrahim, 45, is a lady with special needs from Kalar district of Garmian Autonomous Administration (southwestern Sulaymaniyah Province).

“I started studying at home with my brothers and sisters and then I participated in the study of the Qur'an, so I learned to read and write.”

Afrah is drawing a mural. Exclusively shared by Afrah with KirkukNow 

When turned into a teenager, she had the opportunity to volunteer in a kindergarten and help children draw and paint, because that was the beginning of her passion and talent in drawing and painting.

“At the age of 16, the kindergarten director asked the Garmian education department to hire me so I became a permanent employee and received a salary, which made me very happy.”

Afrah tried to obtain a degree and more expertise in the art of painting, despite the obstacles of transportation, but did not give up and through participation in activities, was able to gain fame.

In 2003, she decided to get a driver's license and bought an affordable car with her monthly savings.


Afrah was employed by a public kindergarten. Exclusively shared by Afrah with KirkukNow 

Afrah goes back to school. She passed primary school and then secondary school to achieve her big dream of painting.

“I took the exam to study in the art department and got good results, but I was prevented on the grounds that I had disabilities and they said I could continue my studies at the Institute of Fine Arts, except the theater department.”

Afrah changed her desire to study because of this obstacle. She says she was forced to go to a computer institute.

“I have participated in more than 40 international art exhibitions and received several awards in Qatar, Turkey and the Kurdistan Region,” Afrah said.

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