Boshra and her family moved to Lebanon three years ago from town in northwest Syria.
“Before the war, we were very comfortable and happy,” Boshra explained. “We owned our house and land, and my husband was a farmer.” All of Boshra’s extended family lived nearby and enjoyed living life together. Everything changed after the conflict started. “Terrorists came to our town and killed many people.”
Tragedy hit Boshra’s family personally when a bomb leveled their house and killed eight people, including one of Boshra’s daughters. “At that moment we knew we had to leave,” Boshra recalled. “The journey was very hard because of the military. There were many checkpoints, but we made it to Lebanon.”
A Common Story For Syrian Refugee Families
Boshra and her family settled in the Bekaa Valley in an informal tented settlement. They escaped the continued conflict in Syria, but their struggles did not stop after resettling in Lebanon.
“Life is hard now. We used to live in a house, now we live in a tent. My husband tries to find work in farming, but it is inconsistent. We have to pay $500 per year to rent this small (400 square foot) piece of land. We had to build our own tent, pay for water and electricity, and my husband is forced to work the farmland of our landlord.”
Boshra’s oldest daughter missed four years of school. Then she found a learning center supported by the Food for the Hungry (FH) local implementing partner, Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD). She attends the learning center with her cousin’s children. They receive basic literacy and numeracy instruction in Arabic and English, along with weekly sports activities and psychosocial support.
“The kids are learning a lot and are so happy. My daughter says that if she could stay at the school all day she would. They have to walk a long distance to catch the bus, but they will do anything to go to school. Our kids used to know nothing, now they have learned the letters (in Arabic and English) and the days of the week. They also appreciate their friends at the school. They play with their friends nicely now because at the school they teach them about loving each other and about forgiveness.”
We closed our time together talking about Boshra’s hopes and dreams.
“I hope my children learn and are able to go home and live in a better place. I hope we can go home. My husband is living in humility now, trying to provide for the family, forced to work the land of our landlord.”
Like mothers often do, Boshra only thought about her hopes for her children and husband. When I asked specifically about her own hopes and dreams, she shared that she would like to learn English. Despite her tragic past, Boshra shows incredible strength and resiliency. She is the matriarch of her family and a leader in the informal community that has developed in the tented settlement where she lives. She takes part in community projects facilitated by LSESD through which she leads a sewing project for other women in her community.
In partnership with the Integral Alliance and LSESD in Lebanon, Food for the Hungry helps provide food, shelter, hygiene kits, educational assistance, child-friendly spaces, psychosocial support and more. To learn more and to help with this life-saving work go to www.fh.org/syria.
Want to learn more about the plight of refugees? Today, there are more refugees than at any other time in history. Download Food for the Hungry’s free ebook, More Than a Refugee, for more.