Perseverance amid adversity: A Syrian family’s story on World Refugee Day

In the face of war and displacement, Syrian refugees have shown remarkable resilience. This World Refugee Day, we share the story of Hana* and her family, who have navigated the challenges of displacement with strength and courage. 

Leaving everything behind 

Hana was once a thriving shop owner in the city of Aleppo. Her life was filled with bustling activity around running her small grocery store, which helped support her family. However, the outbreak of crisis turned her world upside down. Her shop was destroyed, and Hana’s family was forced to flee their home under the cover of night, seeking refuge in Lebanon. 

“I remember the night we left,” she recalls. “We could hear the bombs in the distance. We packed what we could carry and just ran.” Hana, her husband Tarek, and their 4 children embarked on a perilous journey, eventually settling in a cramped apartment in Beirut, the Lebanese capital. 

Struggling in a new land 

Life in Beirut has been anything but easy. Tarek, a skilled carpenter, struggles to find work, and the family relies heavily on humanitarian aid. Hana’s days are spent caring for their children and trying to make their new home as comfortable as possible. “We lost everything, but we still have each other,” she says. “That’s what keeps us going.” 

The psychological toll of displacement has been immense. Hana often finds herself overwhelmed by anxiety and fear for her children’s future. Recognising the need for support, she reached out to local aid organisations. Through Islamic Relief, Hana began attending psychological and social support sessions designed for refugees. 

Finding strength in support 

“The sessions were a turning point for me,” Hana explains. “I always considered myself strong, but these sessions made me even stronger.” The group therapy sessions provided a safe space for Hana to share her experiences and connect with other women facing similar challenges. 

Hana formed close bonds with her fellow participants, creating a network of support that extended beyond the sessions. “We shared our stories, our fears, and our hopes. It was incredibly healing,” she says. The psychological support not only improved Hana’s mental wellbeing, but also gave her practical tools to manage her stress and anxiety. 

Tarek’s journey: Rebuilding from ruins 

While Hana found solace in the support sessions, Tarek struggled to adapt to their new life. The loss of his livelihood and constant worry about providing for his family weighed heavily on him. However, he found a renewed sense of purpose through a vocational training programme offered by Islamic Relief. 

Tarek enrolled in a carpentry workshop, where he could hone his skills and regain his confidence. “Working with my hands again gave me hope,” he says. “It reminded me of who I am and what I’m capable of.” The training not only strengthened Tarek’s carpentry skills, but also provided him with a sense of community and support. 

Building a new future

As Hana and Tarek continue to navigate their new lives in Lebanon, they remain hopeful for the future. Their children, inspired by their parents’ resilience, are adjusting well. Their eldest daughter, Lina, dreams of becoming a doctor, while their son, Ahmed, is excelling in his studies. 

“I want my children to have the opportunities we never had,” Hana says. “I want them to be safe, to be educated, and to have a future full of possibilities.” With the support of Islamic Relief, Hana and Tarek are working towards rebuilding their lives and providing a better future for their children. 

Islamic Relief stands in solidarity #withrefugees

Islamic Relief has been responding to forced migration crises since we began our humanitarian work in 1984, and last year alone provided lifesaving support to around 800,000 refugees. 

We are at the forefront of efforts to assist families forced from their homes, including those affected by crises in Syria, Gaza and Sudan, and by devastating droughts in Somalia and Ethiopia.  

As well providing lifesaving aid, Islamic Relief strives to address the root causes of displacement, and eases suffering by supporting host and displaced communities and helping communities to adapt to the changing climate. 

Hana and Tarek’s story is a testament to the strength and resilience of Syrian refugees and  highlights the critical need for ongoing humanitarian support to help families rebuild their lives. This World Refugee Day, let us remember the millions of displaced individuals like Hana and Tarek, and reaffirm our commitment to providing the support and resources they need to thrive. 

Join us in supporting families who have been forced to leave their homes due to conflict and disaster. By donating to Islamic Relief, you can help provide essential resources and empower refugees to rebuild their lives with dignity and hope.  

*Name changed to protect confidentiality