In times of war it is often children who suffer the most. In Iraq, many children are in car repair shops helping out their fathers who own or work at the business, in markets selling fruits and vegetables, or for the unlucky ones on the streets begging for money.
Life is never the same for children after war. Unable to return back to school due to the damage and dilapidation of education institutions, many children are forced to go to work with their parents. For those without a family, many are forced out onto the streets or remain in a United Nations Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) camp.
In the case of children from Mosul, tens of thousands have been left orphaned or displaced as a result of the war against ISIS. Not only having to deal with the trauma and psychological scarring inflicted upon them by the fighting, but, without an education these children are left usually doing often dangerous manual jobs or are exploited by business owners who pay them extremely low wages. A lack of education gives them very bleak prospects for the future which will most likely further extend their suffering.
In a UNICEF report issued last year, around 3.5 million Iraqi children have left school and more than half a million children have entered the labour market. The priority of the Iraqi Government is the placement of these children back into schools, and in doing so offering psychological services for those affected most by the war.
For those 350,000 children in east Mosul who have returned back to school, life begins again, a new sense of confidence and happiness returns to their faces with both parents and teachers relieved and joyful that these children are back where they belong.
Yet, ISIS is still not completely defeated, with west Mosul still holding an estimated 300,000 citizens captive. There is still a long way to go in making sure every child is accounted for and is living a life better than they are now.