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LIFESTYLE / Aug ‘2016

‘The future will be bright, not like this’

PHOTOS Sabeen with her two youngest children. Sabeen and her family fled Syria two years ago after their home came under attack.
LIFESTYLE / AUG ‘2016

‘The future will be bright, not like this’

This is what cash assistance means to a Syrian family living in abject poverty.

Words OFFSPRING

PHOTOS Sabeen with her two youngest children. Sabeen and her family fled Syria two years ago after their home came under attack.

Emir and Sabeen never thought their four young children would grow up in a barn that once housed chickens and sheep.The lingering smell, dampness, and insects make it uncomfortable to say the least.

But they have little choice. When they fled Syria for Jordan over two years ago they left with nothing, not even their passports.

Photo: Vivienne Dullard/Australian Red Cross

Photo: Vivienne Dullard/Australian Red Cross

In Syria they were living comfortably on a school teacher’s income. As refugees in Jordan, they struggle to keep even this roof over their heads. Emir teaches his landlord’s three children for a small weekly fee of 15 Jordanian dinar (30 Australian dollars), while Sabeen is sometimes able to earnfivedinar a week making and selling Syrian food. This barely coverstheir rented barn, let alone groceries, water, electricity and medical fees.

They can’tafford to change their eight-month-old’s nappies more than twice a day.

”Now, he has rashes. We feed him biscuits with water, he is sick. We took him yesterday to the doctor, he said he has problem and we need to give him healthy food…the doctor told me that he doesn’t have teeth because of the lack of calcium in his body,” Sabeen says.

“Our older daughters ask me why they should suffer. ‘Why do we live in this situation?’ They don’t have winter clothes or a winter jacket.”

The family will receive 180dinareach month ($85 Australian dollars per week), plus a 438 dinar emergency winter allowance to purchase a heater.

While the cash assistance is a welcome relief, Emir and Sabeen know that the impact of their family’s ordeal runs deep.

Photo: Red Cross Red Crescent is providing psychological support to Syrian refugees, children and families and Jordan. Many children draw pictures of the bombs, fighting and horrors they’ve faced.

Their five-year-old daughter Mala bears the psychological scars of seeing her father injured and their neighbours killed during an attack on their hometown of Damascus.

“She saw dead bodies in the street. There was a huge attack in our town; many people were in the streets with cut hands and heads. When she draws, she draws dead people that the army attacked. She refuses to talk to people, she refuses to go to school,” says Sabeen.

But where there is kindness, there is hope.

“We love Jordan; Jordanian people they are so kind. Even poor Jordanian people are feeling sorry for our situation and helping,” says Sabeen.

“We are trying to give our children hope, that the future will be bright not like this,” adds Emir.

More than 16 million Syrians urgently need humanitarian aid. Of these, 4.2 million Syrians have fled the country, mostly to neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.

Distributed by Jordan Red Crescent and partly funded by Australian donors, the cash assistance helps the poorest Syrian families to meet their everyday needs.

Please make a tax-deductible donation to the Syria Crisis Appeal www.donations.redcross.org.au/donation

OFFSPRING