On January 7th, the Canadian government extended the deadline for donations to the Syrian Emergency Relief Fund to February 29th. The impact of gifts given to registered Canadian charities to help Syrian refugees by the new deadline will be doubled.
Your gift will help people like Amina, a Syrian refugee in Beirut, Lebanon. Amina, her husband and their three children are living in a small damp basement apartment. With walls caked with mold, the whole family suffers from respiratory problems. We sat down with her and she told us her story.
“My life in Syria was a lot better than here. I had everything I needed. I was a music teacher. I would give music lessons at schools in the morning and then in the afternoon I would work in a hair salon that I owned. I used to have a big house with lots of space for the children to grow. In Syria we had all kinds of entertainment. We really enjoyed a good life.
When the war started in our village, we stayed on. If we heard the bombs coming we would go and stay in the bomb shelter. The bomb shelters were dark and damp. There was mold in the buildings. As a result I started having problems with my heart.
One time when I was running through the wheat field behind our house to the bomb shelter, carrying my two children, a bomb flew right over our heads and landed a short distance away in the yard of our house. I fell to the ground. My legs were numb. I felt cold. I thought that one of my children that I was holding was dead. I screamed and cried. I felt as though the whole world could hear my scream. My neighbor heard me from the bomb shelter and came running to help us to the bomb shelter. My daughter could not speak for three hours.
Even after this we stayed longer in Daraa. I didn’t want to leave our beautiful home. Sometimes the bombing would be very intense. Other times there weren’t a lot of bombs and we would be hopeful. But then one day the soldiers from the Syrian Free Army came through Daraa and told us that the conflict is going to be a very tough one and whoever is going to leave should leave now!
Even with that advice we did not go. However, one day the bombing was so heavy that we decided we had to go. We left with only the clothes on our back. We went and took refuge in a church in close by village. My husband who was already living and working here in Beirut, reached us and said, ‘Come to Lebanon’. When we reached here we were wearing the same clothes as when we left.
Things are much more difficult living here. My husband is only able to work part time as jobs are scarce. I have tried getting work here but because I must wear a veil, the beauty salons here do not want to hire me.