Compassion on the Road: Hajim Naif's Support in Refugee Camps

Compassion on the Road: Hajim Naif's Support in Refugee Camps
Naren Briar
July 10, 2018
2 min

I was working alone in different refugee camps, and the contemporary environment isn’t safe for a woman to drive alone, so an Ezidi friend referred me to Hajim, who could help me and drive with me to different refugee camps.

Hajim, like the others, fled Sinjar with his family and resettled outside of Duhok. Every morning, we’d wake up together at 6 am, head to the camps, and work until the late evening hours. It didn’t take too long before we became great friends. Hajim helped introduce me to families in need and helped distribute supplies with me. On our long drives in the morning, we’d speak to each other about personal grievances. He’d speak about losing friends and family, and I’d speak about losing my older sister, Van.

At the refugee camp, I took photos of the artists with whom I worked with, religious leaders in the community, parents and their children. I took photos of my friend Hajim, his family, his parents, and his wife.  When I left Duhok, I assured Hajim, his wife, and the rest of my dear friends that I would see them again. Before leaving on my last day, Hajim told me in secrecy that his wife was pregnant. I was incredibly excited, so I gifted him with whatever cash I had stored for an emergency. I didn’t know what else to do, I was overwhelmed with joy at the moment.

After returning to Boston for school, I started my semester with my new friends always in my mind. I received a Facebook message from Hajim. There, on my computer screen was a photo of a precious baby girl, with a message that read, “Meet your little sister, we named her Van, after your older sister. We hope she resembles you in how you seek to help those in need with your natural humanitarianism.”

Naturally, I began to tear up with such a message. I am not sure what I did that deserved such an honor, but this was by far the greatest recognition I could’ve ever received. It was an immense honor to have my sister’s legacy remembered through his newborn daughter. Hajim and I still remain in contact, and think of ways to continue providing sustainable impact.

Hajim and his wife with their little daughter Van