My husband and I have two daughters and a son. We have been living in this tent with my husband’s brother, his wife, and their three toddlers, for the past four years. Before the war, we were living a normal life in our houses and our husbands were working the land. We even had sheep! We were comfortable and able to support ourselves. But when the war started our whole life fell apart. There is nothing left of our homes and land.
About two months after ISIS took control of our village, we escaped and came to Lebanon. We could no longer live a normal life, due to the shelling, and the slaughters. It was a very scary time and we were prisoners in our own homes.
They would never allow women to leave their homes even if they were dying or if the children were sick.
Life as a refugee in Lebanon is very difficult. It took us about a year to get used to living here. At first we felt like complete strangers. Our husbands seasonally work in the vineyard, but what they get is not enough to cover the cost of our most basic expenses. We pay $100 of monthly rent for this one room tent. That does not even include water and electricity. Everything is very expensive, especially now with the economic crisis, prices have increased enormously.
The winter is especially hard on us, because of the harsh weather and because there is no work at all. Anytime it rains we have water inside the tent. During winter, we really suffer from the cold. The children are freezing.
We thank God for the help of brother Mazen from the church. He has been helping us for three years now. He brings us two food boxes every month. Inside the boxes there is boulghour, rice, lentils, beans, oil, tea, sugar, cheese, and many other things. Some months it is almost enough to feed us all! He also gave us mattresses and blankets this winter, as well as milk and diapers for the little ones.
Although we have nothing left in Syria and our houses are destroyed, our dream is still that things will get better there so we can go back to our country, our land, and our families. But in the meantime, we remain thankful to be living in peace in Lebanon, with our children, and that our husband can still manage to find some work so we can survive.
Najwa’s family receiving winter blankets from brother Mazen, who works in the relief team of one of our partner churches in the Bekaa valley.