Kurdish woman spreads Christmas joy in Mosul

Santa Claus has come to the war-torn Iraqi city of Mosul.
Although this is not a funny man with a big white beard, but the 23-year-old Kurdish Muslim activist Shaimaa al-Abbasi - on a mission to spread joy in the city in northern Iraq that has seen so much suffering.
"I hand out simple gifts to make children happy. Above all, children need joy because what the Islamic State did during the wars and the crisis has really influenced their morale."
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For kids like Tayma, it's exciting to see Santa in their town. She hopes she will come back every year.
Like many in Mosul, al-Abbasi was taken to a refugee camp with her family when the Islamic State took over large parts of the country in 2014.
They were defeated by Iraqi and coalition forces in 2017, but the devastation of the battle is still visible.
"I suffer mentally when I see the extent of the destruction, but I always try to get stronger so I can approach these children and make them happy. When I was a kid I was under similar pressures."
Al-Abbasi not only spreads festive cheers, but also volunteers for various groups that organize activities for children. She now hopes to complete her high school education.
Video transcript
[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]
- Santa Claus has come to the war-torn city of Mosul. Although this is not a funny man with a big white beard, but 23-year-old Kurdish Muslim activist Shaimaa al-Abbasi on a mission to spread joy in the northern Iraqi city that has seen so much suffering.
SHAIMA AL-ABBASI: [NOT ENGLISH SPEECH]
TAYMA: [NOT ENGLISH SPEECH]
- It's exciting for kids like Tayma to see Santa in their town. She hopes she will come back every year.
[MUSIC - "JINGLE BELLS"]
Bell bells, ring all the way.
- Like many in Mosul, al-Abbasi was taken to a refugee camp with her family when the Islamic State took over large parts of the country in 2014. They were defeated by Iraqi and coalition forces in 2017. But the devastation of the battle is still visible.
SHAIMA AL-ABBASI: [NOT ENGLISH SPEECH]
Interpreter: I suffer mentally when I see the destruction but I always try to get stronger so that I can approach these children and make them happy because I was exposed to similar pressures as a child.
SHAIMA AL-ABBASI: [NOT ENGLISH SPEECH]
- Al-Abbasi not only spreads festive cheers, but also volunteers for various groups that organize activities for children. And she says she hopes to finish her high school education now.
[NON-ENGLISH SONG]

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