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Friday 30 November 2012

Business as usual at Domiz refugee camp
Business as usual at Domiz refugee camp Customers outside of Naif's shop, a Syrian refugee who is using his ShelterBox tent not just to shelter his family but to also make a living, Domiz camp, Iraq Kurdistan, November 2012.

With almost 20,000 Syrian refugees living at Domiz camp in Iraq Kurdistan, it's no wonder that a new business opens up each day there, be it a convenience store, bakery, clothes stall or cafe.

Approximately one third of the registered Syrian refugee population in Iraq lives at Domiz in the Governate of Duhok. They have run from the violence in Syria due to the civil war. Returning to their homes in the near future does not look likely. To restore a sense of normality, trading is rife at the camp.

Naif is 28-years-old. He has set up a shop at the front of his ShelterBox tent. He lives there with his 22-year-old wife Dekhaz and two children aged one and three. Dekhaz is also three months pregnant.

Naif with his pregnant wife and their two children inside their ShelterBox tent, Domiz refugee camp, Iraq Kurdistan, November 2012.

'I used to be a taxi driver in Syria,' said Naif. 'But because of the war, there has been a shortage of fuel so I have not been able to work. I was also afraid for my family with the escalating violence happening near where we were living in Qamishli so we were forced to leave. We walked for three hours across the border from Syria to Iraq Kurdistan. When we arrived here we had nowhere to go so we huddled with some other families under the night skies for a few days. We were then lucky enough to be allocated a ShelterBox tent.

'Lots of the other men here do labouring work, but I have a really bad back from carrying my children most of the way here, so I decided to open a shop using the porch to store lots of the stock. I bought the goods from Duhok city, just a 10-minute drive from here, and since I've opened up, business has been great.

'I understand our ShelterBox was bought by donors around the world - we are grateful to have arrived here and have shelter. Yes we had to leave our home but in this tent we all feel warm and my family can be safe.'

Here's a video feature on the second ShelterBox Response Team who helped set up much-needed winterised shelter for families like Naif's:

Thank you for your support which is helping Naif's family and others like his who have lost everything to disaster in a matter of seconds around the world.
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