Hope for the better life | 345 (January-February 2019)

The dream of thirteen-years old Iraqi Kasim Alkadym came true on May 12, 2019: he visited Moscow to attend the game between Russian Premier League football teams Spartak and Ufa.

2019-07-01 14:20 Views 331

Kasim’s story unusual for Russia, but pretty usual for postwar Iraq. An amateur soccer player, he lost his left leg several years ago, after stepping on personnel mine.

Step by step he returned to the ordinary life, learning to walk on crutches. He even managed to play football with his friends.

“It’s easy to play football with crutches, - comments Kasim calmly - as soon as my leg healed up, I started to play with my mates. And they hadn’t mercy upon me at all. Football means a lot for me, it’s not just a game. I’d like to become a professional player, like Messi. You know, I’m a fan of Barcelona. And of Iraqi national team, of course”.

He is very serious, this boy. As well as adults who decided to help him. The first was Taisir Mehdi - Iraqi documentary photographer. He made a photo of Kasim Alkadym and won the Andrei Stenin International Photo Contest.

“I made a lot of photos in this poor area. All children there play football. They don’t go to school, don’t learn, just play from dawn to dusk. One day I saw Kasim playing with them. I made hundreds of shoots to get the one that reflects his mood and send it to the contest”.

The idea to bring Iraqi boy to Moscow came straight after the Taisir’s victory. Many entities teamed up to make it happen: “LUKOIL” oil company and “Spartak” football club, “Russia Today” news agency and leading Russian medical centers among them.

“Lots of Iraqi children has been suffering during and after the war. We invited Kasim to Russia and our doctors will bring him back to normal active peaceful life. This is our goal – bring children back to piece. We will help Kasim and thereby give the lead to the others. I believe that this lead will turn into a massive movement”, - said Dmitry Kiselev, Managing Director of “Russia Today”.

In Moscow Kasim was examined by the leading Russian trauma surgeons, who will undertake his rehabilitation and prosthetic care. As a culmination of his visit to Russian capital, Kasim officially opened the football match between Spartak and Ufa. He came to the field accompanied by his father and Taisir Mehdi, happy to be real star of this tournament. Then he sharply hit the ball to start the game.


For Kassim, fairy tale turned to reality. However, hundreds thousand children still suffer from war aftermath all over the world. And Kasym’s story shows that they have hope for the better life.

Photos: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ybD8DWLroHbZyWhtVlfm2zGdWmZ57g_d?usp=sharing

Instagram of Taisir Mehdi

https://www.instagram.com/taisirphoto/

Andrei Stenin International Photo Contest

https://stenincontest.com/?_ga=2.174767146.983765940.1557746817-434728477.1557746817



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