Her name is Ilaf, and she lives in the woods

Her name is Ilaf, and she lives in the woods

Her name is Ilaf, and she lives in the woods Izvor: Snežana Mitrović/N1

A photograph of a three-years-old girl sleeping on the cold ground, leaned against a backpack, somewhere near Bosnia’s border to Croatia has shaken the region.

Her name is Ilaf and she has spent two thirds of her life mostly with no roof over her head, mostly in forests and on streets.

Right now, she is staying with her family at a migrant centre in the northeastern town of Bihac.

The eight-member family escaped from Iraq’s Kurdistan area. Her father Abdurahman has only one wish in his life: that Ilaf, her two sisters and two brothers settle in a country that can offer them a better future.

"Italy, Germany, Austria - anywhere," Abdurahman told N1.

The photo of the little girl, taken by N1’s Snezana Mitrovic, spread throughout the region like wildfire, awakening emotions and reminding the public of the ordeals migrants and refugees face every day on their path toward European Union countries.

Abdurahman believes he himself has no future and it doesn’t bother him.

“I don’t care about myself, I just want to save them, I want my children to go to school, to live in peace, and not in fear and uncertainty,” the teary-eyed father said after finding out how much attention his daughter’s fate has drawn.

He said he wants to finish his trip as soon as possible, especially for the sake of his youngest son, Said.

“I would sell my kidney just to save him from this kind of life,” the Iraqi cameraman said.

The family is one of many currently accommodated in the ‘Sedra’ hotel, several kilometres away from Bihac.

They said they do not dare to continue moving around illegally through the woods.They hope EU countries will open their borders and let them reach their dreams.

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