Photo by Michael Stulman/CRS

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Ten-year-old Majd (Mah-jeed) Nasser Hassan lives with his family in Bashiqa, a town east of Mosul in Iraq. Like many fifth-grade boys, Majd loves football (soccer) and Mickey Mouse. He enjoys studying. Excels in math. His little brother Sam, 9, is his best friend. When Majd grows up, he wants to be a surgeon so that he can help people. But five years ago, Majd’s life was upended when his family was forced by ISIS to leave their home. Fearing encroaching conflict, the family fled, leaving everything behind. “We told the boys, consider it a picnic,” explained Majd’s mother, Lamya. “We will go for a maximum of a week and then come back.” A week became a 40-day stay with extended family in an overcrowded house. Several years in a refugee camp in Dohuk in northern Iraq followed. The upheaval affected everyone, but especially the boys, who were anxious and scared. But along with his close-knit family, the stabilizing force in Majd’s young life became a Catholic Relief Services-sponsored school.

Photo by Philip Laubner/CRS

Countless families have been forced to flee their homes due to violence in Iraq. Majd's family found hope.