My name is Aws, but in Austria I call myself Nikolaus. I am 35 years old.
Where are you from?
I come from the district of Al Karadh in Baghdad city in Iraq. About two months ago some bombs exploded there killing 191 people. This was in all the newspapers in Austria.
Where does your family live?
My mother and my two brothers still live in Baghdad. Sadly, my father died five years ago.
What did you do in your homeland?
I was a cameraman for Channel Baghdad. I had a team with which I made reports on different topics and contributions for the news.
Why did you come to Austria?
There is a religious war taking place in Iraq. The militia persecutes anyone who works for television. I have been shot at; the bullet seriously injured my leg. The militia caught me and beat me up badly. Following the trauma of this experience, I lost all the hair on my body overnight.
Following that, I escaped to Turkey and waited there for a month; I was paralyzed with fear. Then I came across the sea in a small boat. They said we had to head in one direction for an hour and a half and then we would reach a small island. But after three hours we still hadn’t found an island. It was icy cold and completely dark. Everyone on the boat was in panic. We were able to contact the coast guard using a mobile phone and the Greek coast guard saved us with a ship.
Which languages do you speak?
I speak Arabic, a little bit of English and now a little German.
What are your hobbies?
I like swimming, but I’m a bit afraid of the water now. I like singing and listening to music. And I like to work-out to stay fit.
What plans do you have for your future in Austria?
I would very much like to work as a cameraman for television again. When I have work, I want to start a family and lead a normal life.
What do you want from Austria?
I wish from Austria that I can live here, that I can work here, so that I can feel safe again and have the chance to recover and process the painful experiences from Iraq
Would you like to say anything else?
Thanks, to all those who are helping me, sympathizing with me and taking care of me, here in Austria. I very much hope the rules for refugees will become easier, they are constantly changing and we are always afraid that we will have to leave. We love the people here; they have helped us a lot. I sincerely hope to have a good future here.
With the help of donations we have financed Nikolaus to attend a German A1+ course (course fees and travel) from September to November.