Reema (12) lives on the first floor of a house still under construction in Lebanon. There are piles of rubble and concrete all around. There are no windows, no comfort. She sleeps in a small ‘room’ with her parents and four siblings. Rats are frequent visitors.
A year ago her home in Syria was destroyed by the bombings. In the time that followed she moved with her family from place to place, one of the 1.6 million Syrians who have no fled their war torn country in search of refuge in Lebanon, Jordan and further afield.
By the end of the year, close to 3.5 million Syrians are expected to have fled.
“I used to enjoy writing before but since coming here, after this tragedy” says Reema. “I wake up in the morning and I see children going to school and I cry why don’t I have the right to go to school and I sit here and I remember our home back in Syria before the fighting.”
A year ago it was destroyed by the bombings. Now she is one of 750,000 young Syrian refugees.
“I miss my friends,” she says, “I miss my teachers. I miss my classes, my English classes, my Arabic classes, my music classes. Now I’m just sitting here every day.”
She spends her spare time writing poetry, remembering her home and longing to go back to it.
This is part of one of them:
When I take my pencil and notebook,
What shall I write about?
Shall I write about my school,
my house or my land of which I was deprived?
My school, when will I visit you again
take my bag and run to you?
My school is no longer there
Now, destruction is everywhere
No more students
No more ringing bells
My school has turned into stones scattered here and there
Shall I write about my house that I no longer see
where I can no longer be,
Shall I write about flowers which now smell destruction?
Syria, my beloved country
Will I ever return back to you?
I had so many dreams
None of them will come true
Clockwise from top: Reema's shoes, the only items other than her clothes she took with her from Syria. Reema's sketchbook. Reema's notebook. Photos: Sam Tarling / Oxfam.
Reema’s family will receive two payments of $150 dollars as part of Oxfam’s cash transfer programme. This money is intended to help families like Reema’s pay their rent over the next two months.
Families like hers are in desperate need of shelter, food, water and medical care. We're scaling up our response to help families through the coming months.