Sara* with her brother Ahmad* in the family's tent in Lebanon. Photo by Alexander Whittle, World Vision
Sara*, 14, fled Syria with her mum, siblings and extended family after her father was killed. They used to live in a spacious, beautiful home. Now, they live in a tent in Lebanon.
“My dad was kidnapped… I didn’t see my father die. A relative told me. At first they didn’t tell me, they told my mother. But I heard. I was devastated. I wanted to see him.
I miss his sweet words and the way he used to play with us. I miss everything. He used to play with me. I just want my father to come back.
We left Syria around 6 a.m. I was wearing blue jeans and a pink shirt. I packed my watch and my photo album. I’ve got them with me. I love them because the photo album has pictures of me and my father and siblings and the watch was a present from my father.
I sleep in the next tent. More than two families – no three families, even four families – live here.
A lot is different here! It’s hot. There, we had a home. I don’t like it here. It’s not a life here.
Memories of Syria
Our house was the best in our town. You could remove the moon and put the house in its place. It was really beautiful. I had my own room. My siblings had their own rooms and my parents had their own room as well. It had a kitchen with ceramic walls. But, it was destroyed in the war.
We used to play with our bicycles. I used to play with dolls and Barbies, I used to play hide-and-seek with my brothers and sisters, and pattycake. We had a swing that we used to swing on in the evening.
Our house and my friends were the most beautiful things about Syria.
My favourite memory of my father is when he used to play with us. He used to take us to pools and to my grandparents’ house and to the orchards. He used to take us to Damascus and go to Luna Park.
When I was 10 years old, we told our father that we wanted to go to Damascus, but he said ‘No. What do you think about a birthday party?’ For my birthday and my brother Ahmad’s.
So he put on a birthday party for us. Everybody came.
There were a lot of fruits, cakes, juice. My friends were here. I got so many presents. My friends came and we put on loud music. It was really crowded. I knew he was going to have a birthday party, but I didn’t know it was going to be this big. I felt really happy. I was at my home, my friends were next to me and my father was next to me. Everyone was there, my mother, my siblings, my grandpa, everybody.
Before the war started nothing worried me. Everything was okay.
One day men entered the house and they started taking people away and shooting. I would be sleeping and I’d wake up from the loud noises – the sounds of, fighting and people dying. It was horrible.
Some people were killed. Some people kidnapped the women. Some of them killed the children and tortured people.
One of our relatives was taken. We don’t know anything about her. I was afraid for all of our lives.
They wanted to come into our house and kill us. I was afraid that we could never escape Syria.
I felt fear. Horror. Horror…
We were staying at my grandparents’ house. The house was attacked, and when we were running away the bullets were underneath our legs. We went and stayed at our neighbours’ and then they were attacked as well. But God protected us – nothing happened to our family. But our neighbour lost her finger because of the glass.
I feared for my life.
There’s no fighting here
We don’t have money to buy anything here – it’s expensive.
The school here in Lebanon is a tent and it’s overheated. There are only chairs and one board, and it’s really hot. In Syria it [school] was better. There were a lot of seats and windows and it had a lot of space. Here there is no space, just tents.
I like everything about school. I love English and mathematics. I love to learn because I want to be a judge when I’m older.
But here, it’s a bit better than Syria. There’s no fighting, no violence. It’s a bit better.”
*names changed to protect identities
Since the conflict in Syria started, World Vision has helped more than 600,000 people in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. We hope to more than double that number – see how you can help.