By the UN Refugee Agency
“Syrian refugee women are the glue holding together a broken society. Their strength is extraordinary, but they are struggling alone. Their voices are an appeal for help and protection which cannot be ignored.” – Angelina Jolie, UNHCR Special Envoy.
High on a hill outside of Tripoli, Lebanon, Fadia lives with her four children in an isolated tower. She had to flee Syria’s awful civil war after her husband was killed in May 2012. Today, she feels vulnerable and alone.
In the tower, Fadia feels her every move is scrutinised by neighbours and local people. “There are a lot of windows here; they make me nervous,” she says. “People watch and gossip. If a woman goes out, they say she is a prostitute.”
Money is so tight, sometimes she can only cook one meal a day. Meat and vegetables are an expensive luxury. “We see meat once a month, when we get food vouchers,” she says. “Every now and then I might buy it, so the children don’t miss it too much.”
Fadia, who used to be a nurse in Syria, survived a massacre that claimed the life of her husband. She stayed in her home as long as she could, but fled when the bombing reached her neighbourhood, watching as the shelling destroyed her house.
Today, Fadia and her children are still recovering from the shock of having their house bombed and seeing so many people killed. They crossed into Lebanon in December 2012. “On New Year’s Eve the fireworks were so loud that we hid in the corner. It took us three months to adapt, but we still don’t watch the news. We don’t like the sound of bullets and bombs that are in the background.”