Syria: Stories of flight and finding a new home

A classroom in the Jbeil education centre for Syrian refugees, Lebanon

The conflict in Syria has this month stretched into its sixth year. A country has been torn apart, hundreds of thousands have died and millions have been forced to flee. Jesuit Missions, alongside the Jesuit Refugee Service, has been responding to this devastating crisis by running foodbanks inside Syria and ensuring that families who have faced extreme suffering get access to counselling. In Lebanon, we are helping refugees build new lives.

Nada and Zakiya, two teenage Syrian girls, share their stories of flight and finding a new home in Lebanon.

Image credit: Kristóf Hölvényi, JRS

Nada

My only wish in life is to go back home

My name is Nada and I am thirteen years old. I am Syrian.

I used to live in my country with my family, friends and relatives safely and peacefully. I used to go to school every day with my cousins, play with my friends, and we had fun with each other.

On one Saturday, I was spending the day with my grandmother outside. Suddenly we heard some people shouting: “Everyone should enter their house now!” My brother and I were so afraid. My mot her and grandmother took us to our neighbor’s house. So many people were there and the military men were everywhere. When we were coming back to our house, a stray bullet passed between the legs of my grandmother who is old and we were so afraid that something happened to her. We finally reached my grandfather’s home where everyone was hiding in a different corner and in different rooms. My grandparents were stressed about their children and their kids. Six months later my father came to take us with him to Lebanon.

When we came to Lebanon we weren’t happy because we had to leave our home, our l and, country, friends, and family. We lived at first in the workshop where my father works and later we rented a small house next to my aunt’s house.

I love my country a lot and I wish that we could go back. I wish everyone could go back to their houses, schools, and families and live again safely and peacefully. This is my only wish in life and I hope God will listen to it and realize it for me. I guess this is not only my wish; it is the wish of every single person that is forced to flee from their home.

Zakiya

Zakiya from Syria, a student in the Jbeil education centre Lebanon

I miss my past life

My name is Zakiya, I am seventeen years old and I am from Syria. My family and I moved to Lebanon when the war started in our city. We were living happily in Syria. My sisters, brothers, and I were going to school every day, playing with our friends. When we first moved to Lebanon, we did not have any friends and we stayed inside our house.

One day, we heard about the JRS school and my mom quickly enrolled us, which my siblings and I are all very happy about now. The teachers treat us very well and they take care of us, but I am missing my past life. I feel sad because Syria is destroyed now. I thank JRS school very much for always teaching us new things.

Nada and Zakiya’s stories first appeared on the Jesuit Refugee Service International website. You can find out more about the work of JRS internationally and here in the UK.

Jesuit Missions continues to respond to the crisis in the Middle East and you can donate to this crucial campaign here.

Posted on 29th March 2017

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