Florian is our Regional Communications Officer who reports on our programs in the Middle East.
Stories of Syria's Displaced: Samer's Family
Last week I introduced you to Ahmed, Selma, and their children—a family of Syrians who are living as refugees in Kitim, Jordan. This week I’d like you to get to know Ahmed’s cousin Samer and his family, who have similarly fled home for safety in Kitim.
A family of five adjusting to refugee life
I first met Samer’s kids, who turned up at Ahmed’s house to play with their cousins. There’s 14-year-old Salim, who was decked out in his prized AC Milan soccer jersey. He was joined by his little brother Basel, 12, and sister Nuria, 9.
We left Ahmed’s house and Salim led the group back to his home, never letting go of his little sister’s hand and constantly looking back to make sure his little brother wasn’t left behind. He takes extra care to look out for his younger siblings, because both of them have autism.
We arrived in a small garden dotted with olive trees, and then entered the modest home. Samer, his wife Mouna, and the three children have a small living area with white walls, thick dark green carpet, and mattresses on the floor. It’s a house, but for these refugees it is not their home.
“We had to leave. The soldiers attacked our village five times. During the last attack, our neighbor’s house was completely destroyed. We had no choice.”
—Samer, Syrian refugee in Jordan
The hard decision to leave home behind
Home, alas, was no longer safe. As violence escalated this past winter, the family left for Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp in February. Their biggest concern at Za’atari was finding sufficient care for Nuria and Basel with their special needs. And unfortunately, doctors at the camp had nothing to offer except for the address of a specialized treatment center which the family could not afford.
To help his mother care for the pair, Salim no longer goes to school.
Dad Samer is stoic considering his family’s situation. “We had to leave,” he said of his hometown in Syria. “The soldiers attacked our village five times. During the last attack, our neighbor’s house was completely destroyed. We had no choice.” Still, he said, he wants desperately to bring his family back home if and when it’s safe.
At home he had steady income as a driver. Here, he finds odd jobs—caretaker, gardener. But it’s not enough.
The mood was dark, until all of a sudden Basel broke out in song. His sister joined in, and everyone laughed—it was like a breath of fresh air in an otherwise somber day. For this family, and many like it, these little moments provide the hope that happiness, and a return home, may come.
How Action Against Hunger is helping
Action Against Hunger is helping tens of thousands of Syrian refugees in nearby Lebanon and Turkey and is starting programming in neighboring Jordan. Our teams recently assessed needs in Jordan, gauging a range of factors—from economic and health conditions, to psychological to social needs—among this rapidly growing body of refugees before determining where and how to provide needed services.
The number of Syrian refugees just surpassed a staggering two million. More than a million of those have poured into Jordan, and many more are on the way. The humanitarian community is hard at work helping to build safe, secure futures for both host populations and refugees—people just like Samer, Mouna, and their children.