MAHMOUD, DOUAA, AISHA AND ESRAa
CITY OF ORIGIN: HOMS
LENGTH OF DISPLACEMENT: 2 YEARS
OUR FAMILY: AISHA (12), MAHMOUD (10), ESRAA (10), DOUAA (7)
OUR STORY (SEPTEMBER 2015): We live with our mother, grandmother, uncle and his wife and kids in one small apartment. Our grandmother takes care of us while our uncle goes to work in order to support our family. Aisha suffers from a range of health problems, including developmental problems and PTSD. Our father was arrested two years prior, and we have not heard any news about him since his imprisonment. Our grandmother, who helps look after the household, could not speak of our father without breaking down into tears. We have not attended school in more than two years.
UPDATE - NOVEMBER 2015: We all crowded into the living room to see the Karam Team sitting with our grandmother and talking about all of us. They asked us all what we liked to study the most - now that we go to school. Aisha told them that she loves Arabic composition class and is still afraid of airplanes. Mahmoud said he loves soccer most! We all laughed. We watched our grandmother speak with tears in her eyes when she spoke about our home in Homs. She told the Karam Team that our lives are better now that we go to school. We think so too.
UPDATE - MARCH 2016: "We love going to school. We are excited to go and see our teachers. They are so nice. they play with us and make learning fun. Our teachers are also patient with us. We really enjoy our Arabic classes. We are also learning Turkish. It is challenging, but our teachers make it fun. My classes are fun, I have lots of friends. Thank you for your support!" - Aisha
UPDATE - JUNE 2016: "We have so much to fill you in on! Mahmoud is first in his class and Esraa is doing so well. They can both read and write now, which is so important. As for me, I am doing well also. I’m struggling a little bit with my Turkish class but I love my Arabic class so much. Before I started school, I used to not do much and I would just stay at home. But now, I play with my friends Leen and Sajida after school all the time!" - Aisha
UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 2016: "This summer, Esraa, and Mahmud attended some classes and activities. We all went to the park several times. We are really excited to back to school because we’ve missed our friends. We are going to work really hard to be the best in our classes." - Aisha
UPDATE - JANUARY 2017: "This semester, I was on the school soccer team. We actually took a trip to play a game and my team won! It was very exciting. English is a little difficult for me, but other than that, I got very good grades on all of my exams. Aisha is always studying math and that's good because she tells us every day that she wants to be a doctor or an engineer. Aisha and Esra'a are getting speech therapy every day and they are doing so much better. Our mom is so happy." -Love, Mahmoud
UPDATE - APRIL 2017: "Aisha says her favorite subject is Math, but I think she's just copying me! Her and I compete to see who is going to get the better grades, which my mom thinks is better than us fighting. Esraa gets good grades too and our baby sister Douaa, is starting to learn also." -Love, Mahmoud
UPDATE - OCTOBER 2017: “Last year I was the second in class, this year my goal is to be the first. All of my siblings have the same goal and we’re always studying hard to prove ourselves. My mom always makes sure that we’re constantly learning and during the summer she sent us to a Quran class and also she made sure we improved our Turkish. One day I want to become a Doctor.” – Aisha.
UPDATE - JANUARY 2018: “I am now in second grade and my school is big and beautiful, I got a full mark in my Turkish test and I’ve been making a lot of friends at school. My friend Zehra helps me if I ever need anything, and at home I ask my mother to help me with my homeworks. Mahmoud gets mostly excited on days when he has P.E and music classes. Esraa loves her teacher Mohammed the most because he is funny. Aisha loves drawing and that’s what she does on her free time.” – Duaa’.
UPDATE - MAY 2018: “We go to school with our cousins and we enjoy the ride together. I have a lot of friends at school and I always wish them the best. Aisha says that all of her teachers like her so much because she’s such a good student. We all got used to our Turkish school and friends and have no problems at all.” – Mahmoud.
UPDATE- AUGUST 2018: “My siblings and I write sweet letters to my mom and leave it in her closet as a surprise. I had some difficulties in Turkish this year, but hopefully it will be better in the fall. My favorite animal is the pigeon. Aisha is funny, her favorite animal is the cow because it gives us milk! I always dream about enrolling in university one day. I memorized Quran this summer and went to the beach with my cousins.” - Mahmoud.
UPDATE - DECEMBER 2018: “School is nice, the teachers are nice, and everything is good! My favorite moment from this school year so far was when my team in the sports club beat another team, and I would love to teach sports. In five years, I would tell myself that I have to study and going to college so that I can become a doctor.” - Mahmood
UPDATE - APRIL 2019: “During our last break from school, I got to visit my cousins with my family, and Mahmoud registered in a Turkish class. I like teaching my cousins how to draw, particularly my cousin Zahra, but my favorite people to hangout with are actually my siblings Israa and Mahmoud!” - Aisha
UPDATE - OCTOBER 2019: “I graduated to 6th grade! I'm so happy that I was able to get in even though the Turkish class was so hard. Mahmoud also made it in with me. He is participating in a Quran course! I’m so proud of him! Mama is also taking a course in first aid, which is really cool. I see her studying just like me!” - Esraa
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