documentary photographer
 Hellen Farham Mustafa (13) and her mother have lived in Kawergosk Camp for three years. Hellen’s father left the camp in September of 2015 and went to Germany where he is now awaiting residency status.

dear father ا ب العزيز

Thousands of refugees and migrants have attempted to enter Europe in hopes of finding a better life for themselves and their families. Many of those making the long journey are single males, risking their lives alone in hopes of being able to send for their families after they reach safety and gain asylum. Of those that successfully make it to Europe, many are indefinitely separated from their families and unable to work or provide the financial assistance they once did before leaving. These men are left waiting, sometimes for months, in refugee holding centers for judgement and decisions on residency and the eventual possibility of bringing their families with them.

Likewise, their wives and children are also left waiting and alone in refugee camps around the region. As aid to Syrian refugees continues to lessen, life has becomingly increasingly hard for families left behind without a male heads of households to protect or try and provide for them.

This project is a collection of portraits of children and families from a refugee camp in Iraq with letters written to their fathers in Europe. Some letters were written by mothers of the children because they were too young to write. Other may reflect a message from an entire family to their father or older brother. The letters were then sent to the fathers in Europe and images returned to the families in the camp. This is a small selection of the project.

 Peace to you dearest Mohammad Abu Medan,  Me and your son miss you a lot and especially your son Medan because his first word was “papa” and it was very emotional to my heart.  Mohammad, I don't know how to begin to tell you about your distance and our troubles in the camp without you. That you’re away from us is what I liken to a disaster, in fact it is a disaster in itself. Your son needs you a lot because it's his early years and you are far away from him. How I wish he was in your arms and you could hear him say papa because it's the most incredible word that ever existed, but fate has separated us from each other and I pray to God to reunite us soon and break these foreign borders. The mother of your child Medan, We miss you. Know very well that life is tasteless without you.

Peace to you dearest Mohammad Abu Medan,

Me and your son miss you a lot and especially your son Medan because his first word was “papa” and it was very emotional to my heart.

Mohammad, I don't know how to begin to tell you about your distance and our troubles in the camp without you. That you’re away from us is what I liken to a disaster, in fact it is a disaster in itself. Your son needs you a lot because it's his early years and you are far away from him. How I wish he was in your arms and you could hear him say papa because it's the most incredible word that ever existed, but fate has separated us from each other and I pray to God to reunite us soon and break these foreign borders. The mother of your child Medan, We miss you. Know very well that life is tasteless without you.

 To my beloved father. Hello father, how are you? Do you have any news? I love you. I miss you a lot a lot. Life is very difficult while you are away and I’m carrying out the responsibility of the house now. I hope to see you soon. I am Saleh. To my dear father: I am your eldest daughter Beman. I love you so much, and I miss you a lot. I would like to see you. Your daughter Beman. To my kind father: I miss you father, I'm your youngest daughter Shadia. I would like to see you soon. My dear beloved father: I love you. I miss you. I cry every day because you aren't here. Every time I see a man with his kids I feel hurt. I miss you father a lot and haven’t seen you since the age of one year and a half. To my beloved husband: life is difficult without you, and the responsibility of the house is more difficult. I would like us to be together soon because I am very tired without you. Your wife who misses you, Fairouz.

To my beloved father. Hello father, how are you? Do you have any news? I love you. I miss you a lot a lot. Life is very difficult while you are away and I’m carrying out the responsibility of the house now. I hope to see you soon. I am Saleh. To my dear father: I am your eldest daughter Beman. I love you so much, and I miss you a lot. I would like to see you. Your daughter Beman. To my kind father: I miss you father, I'm your youngest daughter Shadia. I would like to see you soon. My dear beloved father: I love you. I miss you. I cry every day because you aren't here. Every time I see a man with his kids I feel hurt. I miss you father a lot and haven’t seen you since the age of one year and a half. To my beloved husband: life is difficult without you, and the responsibility of the house is more difficult. I would like us to be together soon because I am very tired without you. Your wife who misses you, Fairouz.

 To my dear Father, it’s Helen. I want to let you know that I miss you very much and want to see you at the soonest possible time. I cry every day because you're far away from me. In the camp there is no safety, and we need you and there is no one to support us. We miss you, me, my mother and my siblings. And mom is sick, we take her to the hospital every day and my brother can't work because he needs to study. I want you to bring us to you as soon as possible. I love you father.

To my dear Father, it’s Helen. I want to let you know that I miss you very much and want to see you at the soonest possible time. I cry every day because you're far away from me. In the camp there is no safety, and we need you and there is no one to support us. We miss you, me, my mother and my siblings. And mom is sick, we take her to the hospital every day and my brother can't work because he needs to study. I want you to bring us to you as soon as possible. I love you father.

 We want to go to our father, oh father we miss you a lot. God the great, answer our prayers God is generous and good. Dear God carry us so we can go to our father quickly and we will thank all the international organizations and we do thank all the organizations. God protect all the fathers. And the love for my father will always be the love that I never regret all my life.

We want to go to our father, oh father we miss you a lot. God the great, answer our prayers God is generous and good. Dear God carry us so we can go to our father quickly and we will thank all the international organizations and we do thank all the organizations. God protect all the fathers. And the love for my father will always be the love that I never regret all my life.

 To my dear Papa, I'm your daughter Simav and my brother Mohammad and Firas are here with me, Papa we miss you so very much. After you left, the house is empty and we don't see you every morning anymore and you don't kiss us before we go to school. And we miss you when we're back. And papa we don't like Fridays anymore or any of the other days because you're not at home. There is no happiness in Eid or with Eid clothes because you're not with us. And we don't like having lunch because you're place is missing at the table and we're always saying "If papa was with us or here he would've said this or done this" and we cry when we eat and we can't finish our food because we keep crying. We know you left for something better for us and to save us from this war and so we can finish our studies. Papa my love, We need your presence with us to give us your love and tenderness. To our father, from his children who miss him very much.

To my dear Papa, I'm your daughter Simav and my brother Mohammad and Firas are here with me, Papa we miss you so very much. After you left, the house is empty and we don't see you every morning anymore and you don't kiss us before we go to school. And we miss you when we're back. And papa we don't like Fridays anymore or any of the other days because you're not at home. There is no happiness in Eid or with Eid clothes because you're not with us. And we don't like having lunch because you're place is missing at the table and we're always saying "If papa was with us or here he would've said this or done this" and we cry when we eat and we can't finish our food because we keep crying. We know you left for something better for us and to save us from this war and so we can finish our studies. Papa my love, We need your presence with us to give us your love and tenderness. To our father, from his children who miss him very much.

 Mohammed, Semian, Gian, Ferhad, My beloved father, How are you? What’s your news? I really miss you. Why did you go and left me here with my siblings and my mother? We want to come over the place where you are quickly. We are tired here, and we have been pained a lot and decamped. Father, loneliness is very painful; the life has no meaning without you. I miss you a lot, beloved father. We will meet very soon, God willing. Goodbye dear father!

Mohammed, Semian, Gian, Ferhad, My beloved father, How are you? What’s your news? I really miss you. Why did you go and left me here with my siblings and my mother? We want to come over the place where you are quickly. We are tired here, and we have been pained a lot and decamped. Father, loneliness is very painful; the life has no meaning without you. I miss you a lot, beloved father. We will meet very soon, God willing. Goodbye dear father!

 My dear husband, We miss you a lot, especially our children. They always ask about you. They say, ‘where is our father? We want our father. We miss him a lot mother! We want to meet him.’ They are always crying. Also we are not in a good situation here. Your kids are always afraid at night. The first word that our little daughter Rogeny said was father. We are your children. We want to come where you are. Here, in this camp, we are really afraid without you.

My dear husband, We miss you a lot, especially our children. They always ask about you. They say, ‘where is our father? We want our father. We miss him a lot mother! We want to meet him.’ They are always crying. Also we are not in a good situation here. Your kids are always afraid at night. The first word that our little daughter Rogeny said was father. We are your children. We want to come where you are. Here, in this camp, we are really afraid without you.

 Father and brother, How are you? What’s your news? We are missing you a lot. We are alone here. We are so afraid without you. We are your kids father. We love you so much. Rogda – Adel – Hedia – Steda. We love you a lot.

Father and brother, How are you? What’s your news? We are missing you a lot. We are alone here. We are so afraid without you. We are your kids father. We love you so much. Rogda – Adel – Hedia – Steda. We love you a lot.

 My father! How are you? I miss you a lot. I love you. I am Ameen. Thanks

My father! How are you? I miss you a lot. I love you. I am Ameen. Thanks

 Amina --> Waheed

Amina --> Waheed