Aysha (54)

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‘Hope is the word that summarises my journey’

‘I come from a conservative and very patriotic family. As the eldest daughter of a family of nine,  ever since my teenage years I carried many responsibilities. I had to go through one of the toughest experiences a woman can deal with.

I saw my mother helpless, as she was paralyzed at the age of 45 after losing my brother. He was a soldier and died a martyr, trying to protect our country. Years later, my mother passed away and left me lonely as she was the only person I could talk to and trust.

At that time, I was already a wife and a mother. My family relied on me. So I had to move on, I could not stay in the dark spiral of grief. I had to search for the light at the end of the tunnel. In those days, we were commuting between Aleppo and Arfin. My husband was working in Lebanon and I took care of our household, the education of our children and numerous other tasks.

Our local community often did not understand that my husband and I were living so far apart from each other. But I was confident enough to stop my neighbours from judging me and to stop them from minding my business. My husband’s trust in me was limitless and I greatly appreciate him for that.  

When the situation in Syria escalated and the number of prosecutions was rising, I decided to move to Lebanon and start a new life. After all, the safety of my children came first. All our memories, our house and our neighbourhood, everything was ruined. Except for our hope. Hope, that is the word that summarises my journey. 

My beloved son Mohamad is mentally impaired. We have done everything in our power to get him the proper treatments. I give him speech lessons and I have been helping him to improve his life and social skills. He is such a gift to the world. I believe in him, he just needs the appropriate assistance and support. Inclusion and accepting each other’s differences are so important. We all need to work on that. You just cannot imagine the joy that radiates from his face when he takes part in a football game. He has even won medals and trophies,  enjoys listening to music and is truly gifted. Like everyone else, he deserves to get the care that he needs. My eldest daughter is currently based in Germany while my other daughter lives in Lebanon. I always make the best out of the time that I spend with my grandchildren. They bring life and laughter to our home. 

Fair access to healthcare and education for everyone are both so important. That is why I strongly urge local and international organisations to intensify their work. The refugees still have so many needs, for instance the unemployment rates, the numbers are still going up.  

I am convinced that our life’s mission is to connect with each other. We experienced this ourselves during the Beirut blast. Everybody helped. My son Adnan was at work, close to the port, and he miraculously survived. My daughter was at home, all alone with her baby boy. She called me while she was holding him close in her arms, terrified. In only a few seconds, we could have been separated from each other forever. Luckily, we were spared.

At that moment, my heart sank. I was reminded of the armed conflicts in my hometown Afrin. If it had not been for the courage of the Yazidis and the women warriors on the frontlines, would we still be able to call it our hometown? I admire the women who risk everything to restore the peace. They are inspirational, truly an example to look up to.'  

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