17 years ago, two small boys– Emmanuel and Ahmed– were abandoned in an Iraq war zone; the boys were left to die inside a shoe box, where they were discovered and rescued by some nuns. The nuns took Emmanuel and Ahmed to an orphanage, but due to chemical warfare near where they were found, the boys had already suffered severe damage to their limbs. Despite these horrible circumstances, Emmanuel and Ahmed survived, thanks to an Australian woman named Moira Therese Kelly.
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“She brought us both to Australia for surgery originally,” Emmanuel says of Moira, “and she sort of fell in love with both of us.” Moira adopted both the boys a short time after bringing them to Australia. “It was like looking at an angel when mum– Moira Kelly– walked through the orphanage door.” recalls Emmanuel.
Because of the second chance the boys received through Moira, they both were able to pursue their dreams. Ahmed, a swimmer, represented Australia at the 2012 Summer Paralympics. And Emmanuel pursed his dream of singing.
In the video below, Emmanuel auditions for X Factor, with his mom and brother waiting in the wings. “My hero would have to be my mother,” he says. “she worked very, very hard, extremely hard, to change my life hugely… With my mother and with my brother I believe I can do this.”
The audiences and all four judges praise Emmanuel’s rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine”.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been moved as much as I was by that performance.” says one judge. “That was magnificent; your courage, your bravery was unbelievable.”
Check out the incredible audition below.
Share Emmanuel’s beautiful story and song today.
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