Nine years since the start of the conflict in Syria the number of people who have been forcibly displaced continues to increase. 13.5 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. Behind this number are the stories of individual people whose lives have been affected. Here is a glimpse of the faces behind the numbers and their stories.
Displaced Syrian Amouna smiles as she attends class for the first time in three years. Amouna says, “We used to study here a few years ago, but it got destroyed. Now, it’s a beautiful place again.” After hundreds of schools were destroyed across Syria, thousands of children could not access a proper education. To help, UNHCR and partners have worked to rehabilitate schools, including Amouna’s in Tal Estabel, so that children can have a safe place to learn.
Elham, a 30-year-old mother whose family is internally displaced in Katrji, Syria, is fighting for her four children to receive an education. She wasn’t able to receive a full education — Elham was married at the age of 13 and was only able to study until the sixth grade. As her children grew, the crisis in Syria began and she wasn’t able to send her children to school for six years. “The look in my children’s eyes was killing me, I saw they were expecting something and I couldn’t give them what they wanted.” Then, Elham took matters into her own hands. She signed up to attend a local literacy class in Aleppo and is now teaching her own children.
Displaced Syrian Um Nour works in her kitchen, now a makeshift repair shop. A grant from UNHCR meant that she could open a repair shop to help support her children and her sick husband amidst the unemployment and debt that the Syrian war caused in her village of Al Shikh Khuder. “I used to buy new clothes for my kids once every three years, but now we can do it every Eid,” she says, with a big smile on her face.
Five-year-old Osman, a Syrian refugee from Ras el Ein, arrived in Iraq with his pregnant mother and younger brother, Jamsheet. They arrived at the Gawilan refugee camp with no possessions, and their tent is empty except for food and supplies given to them from UNHCR. Osman’s mother says “I couldn’t carry anything. The priority was to get out alive.”