Aya
A 16 year old Syrian mother

The family and I used to regularly visit Lebanon before the war to spend some time here as tourists. However, when we once again traveled here, we could not return back to our home in Syrian governorate of Idlib. When the crisis in Syria began, Idlib, like many other regions, was not a safe place for us. We were forced to stay in Lebanon. That was five years ago and since that day, we have been unable to return home.
No one from our family stayed in Idlib. They are in Lebanon, in Saudi Arabia, and part of the family lives in Damascus. From what we know they are alright and safe so far. I now live with my husband and little son in Sabra, a poor neighborhood in Lebanese capital, next to Shatila.
Back in Syria, my father used to sell vegetables in his shop. In Lebanon, he manages to earn some money from selling vegetables by cruising Beirut with a trolley. My 22 years old husband does the same. My father is struggling. He is an old man, working with young men who sometimes do not turn up to work. By my husband is doing fine so far.
I did not expect to get married at such a young age. If the war had not had such an abrupt impact on my life I might have continued my education in Syria. In Lebanon, it was difficult for me to study. Here in Lebanon, some of the lessons are taught in a foreign language whereas in Syria, we learned everything in Arabic. So I started working as a hairdresser.  But then I got married and had a baby and left my work. I fell in love with my husband. He was a family friend. He is Syrian too.
During the first months of the marriage, we had to live together with my family and occasionally with my husband’s family. Only recently were we able to rent our own apartment. Now we can live with our son alone and have some privacy.
Even though my husband manages to bring home some money, the cost of healthcare is too high. I heard about the MSF maternity unit from my friends and neighbors and when I became pregnant, I started to go to the center for anti-natal care, and in the clinic I safely delivered my son Mohammad. I regularly attend the clinic with my son for post-natal care, consultations, and vaccinations.
Most of my friends in Lebanon are Syrians, and we support each other. Yet I miss my home and country. I hope that one day we will return. I hope the country will be at peace, we will move back and get a home with my husband..
My family is not planning to go elsewhere. We are here because we know Lebanon. At the same time, I understand those Syrian refugees who do flee further away. They are very poor people and they are desperate. (June 2016)

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