Sandra

Iraq

This is
Sandra Shamoon (1988) 

Vaderland 
Iraq

In the Netherlands since
1998

Profession
Beautician

Loves 

My family

Misses
Her old neighborhood in Iraq where she grew up

Still would like to 
Become a ground stewardess and work at Schiphol


“I, my parents and my brother escaped from Iraq as refugees. I’m the youngest in a family of nine kids. My older brothers and sisters had already fled and now live all over the world. When we left, I was ten. We spent nine years in immigration centres.

We moved to Amsterdam - Zuid Oost - in 2010. I already knew the city and it felt a bit like home to me. But I can’t really enjoy it here. A massive thunder cloud hands above my head; I don’t have an identity here. I am a legal resident, but don’t have a passport as I never had official papers to prove who I am or whether I’m actually from Iraq or not. These papers have to come from Baghdad, but for some reason I can’t get hold of them. This is why I’m neither Dutch, nor Iraqi. This influences my entire existence. When I heard I wouldn’t be getting a passport my world collapsed. I got depressed and cried every night when I went to bed.

My dream job is ground hostess. I love being around people, and helping them. Even if I’m not allowed to fly away myself, even if I’m not given the freedom of those people travelling, the magic of the airport pulls me to it. Or maybe that’s exactly why I’m attracted to it.

I escaped Iraq to find rest and stability, but I haven’t found that. I can’t fully enjoy everything Amsterdam has to offer. In the back of my head, and in my heart, I feel incomplete. Only once I have a passport in my hands can I start to live. Only then can my life be stable.”


628 people in Amsterdam have the Iraqi nationality

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