Mother-of-three Um Omar fled her home in northern Hama, Syria, after her husband was killed.
“I was devastated when I received the news of my husband’s death,” said Um Omar, 29. “When a woman loses her husband, she would rather be dead than alive.
“We had to flee from the village. My life used to be perfect, but ever since my husband was killed and we have come to this, I am left with nothing. My uncles didn’t even help us, they left us and we now we have no-one except God.
“Our lives have been much harder since being in this camp. In Hama we had our own houses, we were safe, and we had money. But here in the camp there isn’t anywhere to sleep, there are no blankets, water or safety – nothing. It was a while before we were given mattresses to sleep on. My children suffered in the winter as our tent was not well protected so the water leaked inside.”
Struggling to provide for the children
As she grapples with her own grief, Um Omar fears for her children and worries about their futures.
“I have three children. They need a lot and I can’t provide even the simplest thing for them. If they need any kind of food, I can’t provide it. My children keep asking about [their father]. They say, ‘Where is our father?’ They think that he’ll come back, but he won’t.
“We still don’t have everything we need. There’s no milk, diapers or other things that I need for my children. Sometimes in Eid, I can’t give my children new clothes to wear like the other children get. We don’t have any electricity or a heater. I’ve started working, doing what I can to earn money so that I can buy milk and clothes.
“My children are now deprived from getting an education, from studying in schools and having a sense of security. I wouldn’t feel safe if one of my children went out on the streets. There wasn’t even enough medicine to go round all of the children in the camp.”
Like many Syrians who have lost everything in this brutal conflict, Um Omar dreams of a day the fighting ends and her family can begin rebuilding their lives.
“I hope in the future, when it is safe, we can go back to our homes. God willing, it would be a brighter future.”
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