Since fleeing Syria, Fatima and her seven children have been living in a camp in Lebanon.
“My name is Fatima Mohammed Eissa, from Al-Raqqa province,” she told us. “My husband passed away because of a stroke, may he rest in peace. I became a widow and a mother to orphaned children.”
Fatima has two boys and five girls to care for, and struggles to do so in a country which now hosts more than 1.1 million registered Syrian refugees.
“We came here [to Lebanon]. We came to this camp and the situation is absolutely bad, it is not clean and there is no clean water. The cold has killed us, hunger has killed us as well, I swear to God. I am in a very bad situation and I have been like this for two years and three months, God help me.”
“I have no one to help me, everyone has got their own family that they look after and help. I have nothing but God’s help. I have to work and get money so [my children] can live.”
If Fatima is unable to work, she and her children go hungry. She struggles to provide food for her family, and is often forced to borrow cash towards even their most basic needs.
“I borrow money [for food]. Today I borrowed 50,000 [Lebanese pounds] (about GBP 21). I will go to work the day after and ask for money so I can repay [the loan].”
Money for medical treatment is also a challenge for the mother-of-seven.
“I have a daughter who is ill. I cannot let my daughter die before my eyes. I take her to the doctor and borrow [money] from my neighbours to go and repay the doctor. When I have the money I will give it back to them. Until now I have not managed to repay. Life is very hard.”
Children are losing their futures
School fees are also beyond Fatima’s means, and she worries that her children are losing their chance to build a brighter future.
“I cannot afford to send [the children] to school. They are sitting here without studying, I have no child that goes to school.”
Instead of going to school, her daughter, ten-year old Hourriah, takes responsibility for looking after the younger children.
“When my mother goes to work I have to look after [my siblings] and I cannot go to school,”said Hourriah. “I have to keep them clean and play with them at home. There is a lot that I would like to do and play but I do not have any toys.
“We are hungry. Ramadan is hard because we do not have enough food for the family.”
During the holy month, the family’s cherished dream – of peace, and the day they can return to their home – is stronger than ever.
“When I grow up, I would like our country to be better, and I hope we can go back to our country,” said Hourriah.
This blessed month, help ease the hardship faced by families like Fatima’s. Reach out at Ramadan: donate now.Donate