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Driven out by the violence in Syria, 14-year old Ahmed and his family arrived in the town of Sulimaniyah in eastern Iraqi Kurdistan almost a year ago. He now works at a restaurant to help his father raise enough money to feed their family, which includes his mother and three younger brothers.

“In Syria I used to go to school. And in the afternoons I worked in a small shop. It was a beautiful life,” he says. For this quietly spoken young man, school now seems a distant goal. Not only do Sulimaniyah Kurds speak a different dialect from Syrian Kurds, they have a different curriculum, which makes his parents doubtful that any qualifications received here would be recognized when they return home.

“The work at the restaurant is okay. It’s not a problem, but I would love to have any opportunity to go back to Syria,” Ahmed says. “I miss my school and the shop I used to work in.”

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Images © UNICEF/Iraq-2013/Noorani

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