Food Support for Torn Lives to PersistPublished: Oct 19, 2020 Reading time: 3 minutes
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 against the self-proclaimed Islamic State, 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.
PIN, in partnership with IDD (Care for Humanity) and with funds from the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of Food for Peace, have 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.”
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.
For Om Mohammed, who lives in Idlib province, things are complicated since she is divorced and became her family’s only breadwinner, with 2 daughters that suffer from osteoporosis. On top of that, she feels unsafe because of constant attacks happening in her area. Every time she goes to work, she fears she won’t be able to return to her family. From her house, we witnessed how her and her family’s life is constantly threatened with rockets landing nearby.