How life changed to a nightmare in an instant
A previously wealthy Syrian couple is trying to scrape by in a camp in Lebanon. Vouchers from Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), has given food on the table for Fayez (54), Ibtissam (45) and their remaining five children.
Before the war in Syria they lived in Hajar Al Aswad with their seven children.
Fayez, a university graduate, gave private lessons and ran the paint shop that he owned with his brother. His wife, Ibtissam, wore all her gold bracelets, as a sign of their wealth.
Their good life turned to a nightmare in an instant.
“At 6 am one day, an explosive hit our house. Two of our sons got killed,” say the couple.
They are sat in their two room apartment in Nahr El Bared camp in Lebanon. Fayez is unemployed and they mostly rely on handouts to cover the rent and food.
“After the blast we ran away,” they explain.
While running away one of their daughters was shot in the foot by a sniper. They were not able to take her to the good public hospital for fear that that they would accuse them of being with the Free Army. Instead they took her to a small private hospital and she did not receive proper treatment.
“Our son Walid, who is eight years old, suffers sever trauma from the war. His speech has been affected. He jumps at every noise,” say Fayez and Ibtissam.
In the camp, Fayez tries to find work as a painter, but there is rarely any work to find. When he does get work, he has to agree to a lower pay in order to secure the job. All the money they had in Syria is gone.
Their accommodation in the camp costs $150 a month.
“Money for rent is one of our greatest concerns,” they disclose.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) give them aid adding up to $133 per month.
In addition Norwegian People’s Aid partner Najdeh Association gives them food vouchers.
“The $66 voucher this month has been a blessing,” they say. The vouchers have enabled them to buy food for their children.
Part of the money raised during the Refugee Appeal in Norway, will go to the important work of Norwegian People's Aid in cooperation with Najdeh Association. This means that Syrian refugees like Fayez and Ibtissam will continue to receive assistance.
Fayes outside the familys new home in Nahr El Bared camp in Lebanon.
Photo by Fathia Kassim