Nothing More Difficult Than Displacement: A Testimony from Karam Syria Staff
My name is Hasan, and I am the Education Team Leader for Karam Foundation inside Syria. Karam works to ensure that children maintain their right to education - despite the war. We support nine schools throughout Northern Syria by rebuilding school infrastructure, supporting teacher salaries, and training teachers.
Yes, I am a humanitarian worker - but I am also a Syrian civilian.
I have witnessed war and violence since the beginning of the crisis, most personally this past month. I was forced to flee my home in search of a safe haven as a result of the recent onslaught against Idlib and Northern Hama. For days during the attacks, we lived in utter fear. Imagine - on an hourly basis - hearing live updates about impending attacks. Imagine having a phone application that tells you where planes are coming from and where they are traveling to. All day and night we hear: “the fighter jet has just left Homs .... there is a helicopter over Kafr Aweid ... there is a Russian jet in the skies, a Sukhoi 22 plane entered airspace over Khan Shaykhun ... there are four helicopters in the air…”.
We listen to these updates but have no ability to change the reality. We just wait.
Our village, Kafr Aweid, was being incessantly bombarded by airstrikes. The day before we left, a missile struck a home in the middle of the village, and its shrapnel traveled so far that we found it lodged in our home. It was 30 centimeters long, and five people were injured in that attack. At that point, I knew it was time to leave. Nothing is more difficult than displacement, but we had no choice. In these moments, my family and I became a few of the thousands of Syrians who have been displaced in the past several weeks.
When my family and I fled, I depended on my friends to help my friends to help us find housing: there are simply no more homes available near the border. My family - including my brothers, sisters, father and mother - are all living in the Atmeh camps. When I think about our situation, I am overwhelmed by sadness, confusion, loss, and helplessness. I am a person who works hard - who loves life and loves people - I did not commit any crime or take part in this war. Why is it okay for others to come and bomb us using barrels and rockets?
Tears stream down my face when I think about leaving my home and perhaps never coming back again. I keep picturing the government forces raiding our homes and looting what we were forced to leave behind, but staying at home would essentially mean we are waiting for our deaths.
I continue to do my work because of my absolute belief in the immense impact that education can play in building the future of this country. In our schools, we send 3500 children to school. We not only provide them with their educational needs, but we also teach them values such as having respect towards one another, seeking the best for our communities, and upholding the rights of yourselves and those around you.
As long as children are attending school, we have hope for the future: school is where love, honesty, and tolerance are taught. What I don’t understand is why our children don’t have the right to protection and education, just like the rest of the world.