My name is Rateb Khodor, I’m a refugee from the Rif Dimashq region of Syria and I live in Shatila camp, Beirut, with my wife and three children. We’ve lived here for three years.
When I first came to Lebanon in 2013, I was living in Bar Elias in the Bekaa valley. But the weather was harsh in winter, with almost a month of snow, so for the sake of my children I decided to come to Beirut.
Shatila was the first place we came to, and we managed to find a small house, with low rent.
I’m a daily worker and I earn my living as a technician and logistician for the building where MSF have their clinic – I work whenever they need me. Two of my children, Muhammad, who is 7-years-old and Mustafa, who is 4-years-old, were born in Syria. Our youngest, Ezziddine is almost 2. He was born in Lebanon. Muhammad and Mustafa are not attending school now. I cannot afford the school fees to send them. But one of the organisations running a school here promised me they would integrate my boys into a class next year.
Of course in the future I see us going back to Syria, back to our home. It’s a dream, but one day we will achieve it. Nothing is impossible in life if we work for it. There is always a way to fix things. It’s up to individual human beings to decide whether they will get their life back.
The difficulty is in our minds – to live well we only need patience and courage. (June 2016)