Stories from Syria: eight lost years

14 March 2019

Topics: Refugees

In March 2011, the Syrian people took to the streets in a peaceful uprising that led to a brutal civil war. No one could have imaged what tragedies would unfold over the next eight years. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, and millions are now refugees.

Over the years, we’ve met hundreds of Syrian people living in refugee camps in Jordan and countless families who are struggling just to get by. They’ve left everything behind to stay safe. It is never any less shocking to hear what each person has gone through.
To honour their lives and what they’ve lost after eight long years of conflict, we wanted to share some of their stories with you.

Assala: strength in times of trial

When war came to Syria eight years ago, Assala fled with her husband and only son.

Her home was destroyed in the fighting, and her sisters and mothers could not escape the country. She has been living in makeshift accommodation ever since, trying to support her family by taking on any extra work she can find.

Asked how she bears so much hardship and responsibility, Assala told us:
"One has to be strong and brave - life requires this, although our hearts are broken for the loss of our homeland"

Farah: rebuilding after flight

Fear of the bombs that were closing in, fear of the stories of war crimes and fear for her daughters led Farah to flee the Syrian countryside for Jordan.

She and her family were smuggled across the border into Jordan, where they survived for years living in makeshift camps with little food, no savings, and no running water, electricity, or gas.

Since starting her small cheese business, Farah managed to, bit by bit, grow her income so that now, four years after fleeing the war, she is no longer reliant on food rations. Through her hard work and determination, and with your support, she is able to pay school fees, buy essentials and support her children’s education.
"They can never imagine going back to Syria, to the war and to the fear. Whenever I mention going back to Syria, they feel terrified"

Omar: a bright future

Omar is twelve years old. For eight years of his life, his country has been at war. For almost eight years of his life, he has been away from his home, and thankfully, safe from the shooting and bombing.

Despite constant hardship, Omar has had success in his studies, and dreams of one day becoming a doctor, to help those who are least able to afford healthcare, because, he says:
"We are all equal and there is no distinction between us"

Joury: what was left behind

Fearing for the lives of her children, Joury fled her village in Syria when the shelling came. First they took to the mountains, then crossed the border into Jordan.     

Now, Joury struggles to give her children even the very basics: a warm place to live during the cold winter months in Jordan, medical care, food, and an education.
"We used to live a very happy life in a village. In that village everything was available and evrything was beautiful, too... We have left all the happy memories behind."

Virginia: mother of the refugees

They call her the “mother of the refugees”.

Her compassion, her generous time, and her open ear has given Virginia this honarary title among Syrian refugees in Jordan. Virginia, a Jordanian volunteer with our local partner, has been helping people  since the start of the conflict in 2011, offering those who need it a shoulder to lean on and someone to learn from.

She volunteers her time teaching refugee women the skills they need to get ahead, and talking to people about their rights and those of their children.
"I know what they suffer. I know how it is difficult for them to cope and to live. Help me help them. I cannot do it alone. No one can do it alone."