Diyala: After losing her husband, Runak challenges societal norms and steps toward success

Layla Ahmad, KirkukNow's reporter, listens to the success story of Runka

Runak in her village had a normal life with her husband. They both used to work together and earn their living expenses. However, what Runak had never thought of happened to her that changed her life; the death of her husband.

Runak, 40, was the mother of five children and was pregnant to another when her husband died from a heart attack.

The death of her husband was the toughest challenge she faced, and since then, she has to earn money to make a living for herself and her six children. Besides that, the societal norms and her family demand to leave her village increased the barriers.

Runak is a blue eye and light hair woman. She lives in a village in the Germian region. Her lips have dried up. Yet, she is not willing to reveal her name and the name of her village due to her family, but, with confidence, she explains her success story over the challenges she went through.

My family and relatives left me behind right after my husband’s funeral

“I had five children and was pregnant. In this far away village, I was obliged to raise six children,” she said, “my family and relatives left me behind right after my husband’s funeral. I started wearing black clothes, and since then, my mud house has turned silent.”

The people of the village and her family soon blamed Runak. “Living in a village is no longer appropriate for you, a young woman. Pack your house, move to the city, and live with your brothers.”

Living in a village is no longer appropriate for you, a young woman

The sorrow of losing her husband had not gone away when she had to think of raising her children and confront societal barriers. One day I decided, “to remain in my village, neglect societal stereotypes, and continue my husband path.”

Her decision to continue living in the village ceased her relations with her family because they believed she should be obedient.

Runak was 20 years old when she was married and moved to the village.

After a few months of her husband’s death, she gave birth to her sixth child. Her health conditions deteriorated. She became vulnerable to the degree that she could not eat enough.

Her problem was that she had to pay back a five million Iraqi dinar loan that her husband borrowed for farming.

“I started farming and became a shepherd. I borrowed numerous animals and grazed them for two years. After two years, I paid back the money,” Runak proudly stated.

I started farming and became a shepherd

She later sold the tractor her husband left behind, and with some saved money, she bought a new house and left her old house made out of wood and mud, which was likely to collapse.

When she lost her husband, she was 35 years old, and her oldest son was 13. In the beginning, his 13 years old son could not help her enough but now shoulders the work with her mother.

Regardless of their difficult financial situation, Runak did not deprive their children of education because it was the dream of her husband.

Her success story did not happen easily. She has experienced a misery life and faced significant challenges. “There have been days when I walked a few kilometers to take my children to a hospital.”

I walked a few kilometers to take my children to a hospital

She monthly visits a city where she buys household supplies and goods for her children. Her family and even her parents do not talk to her except for one of her sisters.

“As long as I live, I support my children. I want them to study and have a future, not to have the fate I have had.”

One day, a teacher slapped one of her children. Runak goes to the school immediately and tells the teacher, “I have not raised my children with violence, and I do not want that to be repeated.”

I do not want that to be repeated

Runak has overcome the challenges she faced. Now she is in a new stage of her life. She can raise her children and proved that she was on the right path, neither the society nor her family.

“Decide and depend on yourself. This way, you can also be successful.”

Her success story might be a great example to women who may face the bitter fate Runak has gone through.

In the end, Runak rose her exhausted hands and thankfully said, “God, I relied on you and proudly defeated all the challenges.


Note: KirkukNow keeps Runak’s full name upon her request

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