Fatima is still shocked by the last 9 years of war in Syria. To her, war meant losing her husband and 4 children, permanently living restlessly not knowing if they are alive somewhere.
“Security forces started arresting the youth and raiding our homes. They killed many people in a neighbourhood nearby. They surrounded ours and on 5th April 2012 they raided our home in the afternoon, saying they were searching for weapons. Later at night, they came again and arrested my husband, four children and my brother in law in addition to our neighbours,” she recalls.
“I fell and started shouting almost unconsciously. My daughter-in-law was so shocked she couldn’t talk a word for three months. We suffered so much,” Fatima explains. Furthermore, her house was set on fire – all her life reduced to ashes. With time, the pain she feels has changed but it never disappeared: “I still know nothing about them and whether they were killed.”
To that traumatic event, Fatima, 54, adds the hardships of having been displaced several times.
“Two days after their arrest, I left our neighbourhood to a nearby village, where we stayed for two months. Then we moved to the countryside of Aleppo city, where we lived for three years. With the battles escalating, we fled north and rented a house in Azaz city.”
The last 4 years have been financially precarious for Fatima and her family. They had to move to a camp for displaced people and are struggling to make ends meet. “My son and his wife, my daughter-in-law with her two children, and myself are all living in a very small, two-room caravan,” she regrets.
IDD supported Fatima for the last few months with food kits containing several types of cereals and seeds, among other items. “It saves us some money and reduces our life costs,” Fatima says. Indeed, this 2020 has been horrendous in Syria, with the value of the Syrian Pound hitting an all-time low and the cost of food increasing 209%.
Every year of war, Fatima’s mind must travel further and further to recall good memories. “We were all living together in one big home surrounded by gardens and trees. My husband and eldest son were working at the bakery close to our home and our other two sons used to work in a butcher shop.”
"You don't feel comfortable anywhere except for home," says Shaban (70) from northern Syria.
In the same camp where Fatima lives, we are also supporting Shaban, a ghazleh (cotton candy) maker who feels blessed to still be able to pull his trolley and try to make some money for him and his family to survive.
"I left my home in 2012. Since then, we have been in several camps. Time flies!" said Shaban (70).
IDD has supported Shaban with food kits containing several types of cereals and seeds, among other items.
"Life is very expensive, and we need a lot of money to live. An NGO has given us food kits for the past three months. It is a good support, and it alleviates our suffering. I hope the war will be over, and everyone can return to their homes."
IDD supports the most vulnerable families in Northern Syria
Najib (30) lives with his wife and two little children in the countryside of Idleb, Northern Syria. They were forced to flee their home due to shelling, and now they live in an abandoned, damaged house, which Najib tried to rehabilitate. He struggles to find any work to meet his family's needs. But the situation is challenging, and sometimes he cannot find work to earn some money.
"Living conditions are horrible, and I cannot always borrow money. I am doing any work I can find. Even the tiny battery that we are using for LED lighting I had to buy in debt," said Najib.
To support Najib's family, IDD provided them with food kits for one month. These kits provide the most vulnerable families with food when there are no work opportunities on the horizon.
"I have been receiving food kits for six months now. It is an excellent support that enables me to save the cost of buying most of the food items we need," said Najib.
According to the UN, 12,4 million people in Syria are food insecure. Food kits are one of the ways in which IDD supports vulnerable families in Northern Syria.