Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
‘We left our village in Syria one day in September 2012 in the early hours of the morning. We had felt unsafe in our home for a while with all the shelling that was happening in our area. It was a frightening journey here as we had to pass through several checkpoints but we made it across the border late at night the same day, so it was a very long journey.’
25-year-old Ahed Hussein Zeidan eyes are full of sadness as she tells her story sitting elegantly in her ShelterBox tent in Akaar, northern Lebanon. She is cradling her 4-month-old baby Omar on her lap. Either side of her are two of her three sisters who also live with her, one of which is bouncing her baby boy. Her brother in law is out working to raise enough money to rent the piece of land they have settled on.
‘When we arrived here we were living in an unfinished building, like lots of other families. However as winter approached it was freezing as there were no walls; it was not closed or sheltered. We lived there until we received a ShelterBox. We then found this land and set up the tent. We are so grateful for it.’
Ahed’s eyes brighten a little.
‘This tent is closed so it is much better, protecting us all from the bad weather, the wind and rain. It’s much warmer and much better than the unfinished house. We are more comfortable and we feel safer and our children are safer.’
The disaster relief tent stands alone on a piece of farmland and is used as the bedroom. Ahed and her family have built makeshift extensions around it providing them with a separate living area and kitchen. The tent is providing them with a warm private area to sleep in.
‘Our only hope for the future is to be able to return to our home country and live our life as it was before… with all the resources and services we need to live a comfortable life.’
Despite the hardships that the Syrian refugee population face, thanks to your generous support almost 1,500 families have a shelter that they can call home this Christmas. They will be safe, together and warm.