Shafaq News/ Despite opposition from friends and family, a group of brave Iraqi women are dedicated to saving lives.
Suited up in protective gear, a team of women fan out across the rugged fields of Basra.
Defying rigid gender norms in Iraq, they search with careful precision for dangerous explosives.
Hind Ali explains why she joined the all-female demining team.
"The main reason I joined the team is a humanitarian one. Vast areas of the province of Basra have a lot of mines, people have been prevented from living on those lands. Moreover, there is a lack of awareness among some people that has caused countless accidents in the province of Basra."
Ridding their province from landmines – the 14 women were trained over the course of 40 days.
Equipping them with the tools and knowledge to find and safely clear different types of mines.
The difficulty and danger of the task however, was not their only obstacle.But rejection from their community for women to take up such tasks has also proven difficult.
"Until now, no one has encouraged me in this field, because, well you know, families are worried. Just hearing the term 'demining' causes immense fear for many people, especially with parents and close relatives, even now, my family and close friends are completely against it."
Over the past years, mines have killed and injured dozens of Iraqis in the east and west of the city.
In Basra, there are thousands of kilometres still full of mines, as a result of the Iraq-Iran war and the Gulf war. With each piece of new ground cleared, these women are saving lives.
Source: The National