Mothers of Syria: Rania & Saffa


Conflict has long-lasting effects for families. Rania  al-Boush  is  40  years  old  and  is  mother to three  girls  and  two  boys.  In  early  2013  she  was  forced to leave her home in al-Mleha, Rural Damascus and now lives in the Duwaila neighbourhood of Damascus. 

“The  crisis  has  affected  everyone  in  my  family,”  she  says.  The  lack  of  space  has  caused  problems  for  the whole family, but the two young boys have found it especially hard to cope with the changes. “Life changed a lot to them’  Rania says. “They became very aggressive and nervous. You cannot imagine how hard it is for a family of seven living in one room.”

Her husband is a tailor, and his job affected badly with the crisis. Previously, he was earning from 30,000 to 40,000SYP each month, but now his monthly earnings do not go above 8,000SYP. “My  husband’ s  family  also  has  been  displaced  from  their  home  and  now they  live  in  one  of  the  collective shelters in Damascus. He feels shame because now we are living with my family. He wanted to rent a house for us to live separately but there was no money to rent a house or even a room.”

“My oldest daughter Aya, is 16 years old, she left the school and does not want to return.”

Safaa, a mother of four, fled from Zamalka to Jaramana with her four children. She says her first priority is finding  somewhere  safe  to  stay. “I  hope  I  can  find  a  room  for  my  children,”  she  says. “We  need  a  house. Some generous people donated for us to pay the rent of the housewhich is 15,000SYP, and the Red Crescent provided more help, but still we need a lot.”

Food,  is  a  major  worry. “The  food  parcel  we  received  do  not  contain  meat  and  vegetables,  and  I  have  no source of income, so how I can cook good meals for my children?” Safaa says. Aiham, who is 7 years old, suffers from speech problems after being trapped with his father in Zamalka for a week. “He still cries when he hear any bombing and says: ‘ Mum take me away’ .”

Nadeen Hilwani, a psychosocial first aider in this center says displacement is often hardest for the children. “They  are  depressed  by  the  situation,  and  they  feel  fear  from  loud  voices,  and  from  strangers,  and  always they prefer to stay together,” she says. “When we find difficult cases such as Aiham case we immediately refer it to the Red Crescent’s psychological clinic so he can be seen by a trained specialist.”

With  nothing  to  live  on,  both  Rania  and  Safaa’   need  extensive  support,  and  they  found  it  with  the  Red Crescent. Rania usually visits the Psychosocial support center in Duweela with her daughters, and takes part in activities like handicrafts and mothers’  workshops. She has learnt new skills such as spinning handloom and needlework, and has finished many handmade pieces.

Blinking back tears, Rania remembered the old days; her home, her family. “How can my children cope with all of this?” she asks.

By  Viviane  Tou’ meh,  Syrian  Arab  Red  Crescent



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