Layla in her home pondering
Layla in her home. Photo credit: Ahmed Latif Abid, GESI WASH Officer, World Vision, 2022.

Beyond Limits

A story of a father going beyond limits to have his children live a normal life


There is nothing beyond a father or mother’s limit, the limit is only a decision. Sabir is going beyond limits for his daughters with whom he lives together in Kirkuk city center.

Sabir's life is centered around his children, medical treatments and making a living for himself and his family. He has five daughters, four of them living with a disability.

His eldest daughter, Layla, has a disability in her legs due to quadriplegia and is using a wheelchair to help her get around.  Layla is in the third year of high school. His second and fourth daughters have muscle weakness, his second daughter cannot walk for long distances and the fourth daughter cannot walk at all. His youngest child has a hearing and speaking disability.

When his wife was six months pregnant with Layla, the ultrasound doctor told them that the child was having an abnormality in the brain and asked if they wished to have the child or not. Sabir and his wife said they would love to have the child and decided not to go through an abortion. Layla was born, Sabir and his wife strived to make sure little Layla will not feel discriminated against or lose her rights in the society. When Layla reached school age, many schools would not accept her and they suggested that Layla should go to private schools or schools specialized for children living with a disability. Nevertheless, Sabir didn’t want to accept that. He wanted Layla to feel and be treated equally to any other child at her age. Sabir shared, "I wanted her to study in a regular school like any other student. Thank God she has passed all the different stages of school, and now she has friends and doesn't feel like she has a disability."

Sabir didn’t leave his daughters on their own for a minute. He was by their side all the time.  Sabir shares: “From the first year of primary school to year six, I didn’t leave them for a minute. I was all the time in school by their side until they finished their classes. I didn’t let them feel they had a disability. And now thanks to God everything is very good. And now she (Layla) has final exams and I sit there at the school waiting for her until she finishes her exam.”  Sabir takes his children to school and brings them back every day. He arranges his schedule in a way that he is able to walk all his four daughters to the school. 

Before Sabir had children, he was working as a carpenter, but he left his job to take care of his children.  He has been working as a guard for the school that his children attend so that he stays by their side. In his home, he arranged his one-floor house to accommodate his children’s needs by constructing ramps and turning it into a house with easy access and use for his children.

However, in the schools that Layla and her sisters attend, the school and its restrooms are not accessible for children living with a disability.  Sabir is grateful that World Vision Iraq in partnership with Rozh Society, an Organization of Persons with Disabilities, in Kirkuk through funding from World Vision Taiwan and World Vision USA will build ramps and restrooms to make the school environment People with Disability-friendly. Due to the lack of disability-friendly restrooms in their school, Layla and her sister couldn’t go to the restrooms and had to wear diapers instead.  Sabir is happy that in the future, his daughters will have a better time at school and can access the restrooms easily.

In a month from now Layla will have her birthday and will become seventeen years old. At school, Layla likes English classes but detests Math. She dreams of being a doctor in the future. She likes studying and doing exams. She likes to talk and play with her friends on social media applications when she has free time. The closest person to her in the world is her father. She shared, "He takes me everywhere, to the doctor, bazaar and school. He is always by my side. We go together to every place. I am happy to always have my father by my side."

Through this project, World Vision Iraq and its partner Rozh Society will rehabilitate Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities in sixty homes of persons with disabilities from thirteen to forty-seven years in Kirkuk and Hawiga and make thirteen public facilities such as schools, health centers, and government offices accessible for persons with disabilities.