"Many people did not make it and I still don't know if they are alive."

Before ISIS came to our village I was the community leader and working as a shepherd for my cows and sheep.  At 2am, we got a call to say that ISIS was on their way.


Twenty of my family members and I managed to escape. We felt so lucky; many people did not make it and I still don’t know if they are alive or dead. They stole everything and burnt our house to the ground. After that, we lived all lived in a tent for 9 months at a community center.


In this culture men dont cry. Its embarrassing. I wanted to so many times, but felt like I couldn’t.  Sometimes I would walk up the hill to sit where no one would find me, and I would just cry.


“I still don’t know know if they are dead or alive”





I thought to myself Look at me, I used to be the leader of my village and now, I am living in a refugee camp”That was hard for me as a man. I wanted to be the one my family could rely on.



One day I was told about the Tutapona program. At the end of the two weeks, I felt self-confident again and I could look forward to my future. One day we went to the river and they gave us all a rock, and told us that the rock represented our sadness.

They encouraged us to throw our rocks into the river and let go of what was on my heart. I threw my rock into the river that day. I believe my family and I will have a good future. We WILL go back home one day, we now have an authentic hope.


*Name & images may have been changed to protect the individual & his family.

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Because of the generosity of others, Rasm is now a light in his family and his community. BUT there are thousands of people just like Rasm with stories that are yet to end with hope.

Help Tutapona bring hope & healing by donating to the #40ThousandLights campaign & help us bring light to 40 Thousand more lives, homes & communities.

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