June 20 is an international day to salute the resilience of refugees worldwide. Five years into the Syrian crisis, refugees have proved strength, courage, and perseverance.
We tell here some stories on their status and lives.
A young Syrian girl playfully hides from our camera at an adhoc compound for refugees in Saida, Lebanon. Lebanon hosts more than 1,011,366 Syrian refugees*, with limited official camp management regulations.
Young "Rouya" posing for our camera, at the Harran Camp, Şanlıurfa, Turkey. "She likes taking photos" told us her mother. Turkey hosts 2,992,567 Syrian refugee, registered with UNHCR.
While in Jordan, 660,785 Syrian refugees are registered with UNHCR, and teenagers aged 12 to 17 constitute 13.5%.
"There is a pleasure in sharing creative moments with the children that come through here" says Khawla Omar Mekhlef, who's an Arabic language teachear the IMPR Urfa Community Center (Şanlıurfa, Turkey) while teaching young Syrians how to prevent bullying. Khawla is herself a refugee.
“I love to paint, my teacher always says that I am good at it” tells us Youssef Kashaam, 11 years old at the Art and Peace center, Gaziantep, Turkey.
And in Saida, Lebanon, Lebanese cook together with Syrian and Palestinian refugees, revisiting recipes and opening the doors of a touristic restaurant in the portal city, Tawlet.
Sana Suleiman, another resilient refugee in Turkey, explained to us how she joined her husband in winning bread by learning and working in sewing. She's also looking forward to build more capacities by learning Turkish language. "My husband and I urgently need to work, but in order to work we need to learn Turkish and that takes a long time” (IMPR Urfa Community Center, Şanlıurfa, Turkey).
Nothing can stop young Syrians from integrating and showcasing their talents! Tali Julak, the 12 years old in the center of the below photo has not only joined a Turksih/Syrian choir, but also dreams of fame. “I want to become good as Beethoven was in playing the Piano” (The Art and Peace center, Gaziantep, Turkey).
All of these stories and more, much more, are ones of individuals making the best of their refugee status. Individuals fighting everyday for dignity and respect. A common wish that the young and old had shared with us, is the wish of returning home. 79 y.o. Abd Allah Mahmoud Kasem wisely smiled to our camera, telling us: “I have spent 5 years in this camp, we are free to move and live in decent conditions but the best would be for us to go back to Syria” (Harran Camp, Şanlıurfa, Turkey).