Lebanon has entered its fourth year as a country hosting the highest number of Syrian refugees in the region and is struggling to cope with the presence of more than 1.2 million Syrian refugees scattered across the country but mainly concentrated in the Bekaa Valley. Aside from lack of resources and funds to help the refugees, there have also been major security implications.
According to the UN, 72% of refugees are women and children, and a great number of widows are left to raise their children with little or no support.
Um Mohamed is a grandmother of seven orphans who fled to Lebanon in February 2013. Um Mohamed was living a comfortable life with her family in Aleppo before the crisis; but suddenly everything changed. Her husband was kidnapped and till now she does not know what happened to him.
One day, there was an explosion near their house and her two sons rushed to help people to get out of the building. Unfortunately a second explosion killed one of her sons and maimed the other, leaving him disabled. One of her daughters fell victim to an explosive device, killing her and her unborn child. Um Mohamed was left alone with five orphaned grandsons and one divorced and sick daughter with her son. Um Mohamed fled to Lebanon with her grandsons alone, without anyone helping or supporting her.
Upon arriving in Lebanon, they rented a house in Beirut; she started selling tissues in the roads to get money to pay for the rent and to buy food, but the rent was very expensive and she could not afford to pay it. Someone told her about the camp, so she left Beirut and went to the camp where she was able to live without paying any fees.
Having survived through selling tissues on busy roads, Um Mohamed was provided with a small tent in Ketermaya. However, this caused many difficulties due to harsh cold in winter and lack of water in the summer.
Islamic Relief provided the family with emergency food supplies and one of her grandsons was sponsored through the one-to-one sponsorship. The regular income through the sponsorship provides for the whole family. Additionally, Um Mohamed received a permanent shelter, to a building that was reconstructed for Syrian refugee families. This shelter has a clean water supply and as it is a solid structure, is better insulated to protect from the cold weather.
This essential support alleviated her suffering and has helped her to survive and live a better life with her grandsons and daughter.
Um Mohamed said “Big thanks to Islamic Relief who transferred me from the tent to a better home”. She added “Many thanks from the depth of my heart and I wish for Islamic Relief to continue helping us and providing us with our needs, because I’m unable to work”.
You can support more families suffering due to the ongoing conflict in Syria, donating to our Syria Appeal