ELEN AND JAMiL

CITY OF ORIGIN: IDLIB, SYRIA

LENGTH OF DISPLACEMENT: 1.5 YEARS

STATUS: DISABLED PARENT + EXTREME POVERTY

OUR FAMILY: ELEN (11), JAMIL (7)

OUR STORY: Although we have lived in Reyhanli, Turkey for 18 months, we have been displaced multiple times in the last 4 years as we moved from the south of Syria all the way to the north. We have not been in school for close to three years. We stay at home to care for our father, who was paralyzed when he was shot during a peaceful demonstration in Daraa in 2011, where we were living at the time. Elen bears the burden of caring for our father, Jamil, and our toddler brother Yazan, while our mother tries to do odd jobs daily to make a living. 

UPDATE - NOVEMBER 2015: "When the Karam Team visited our family in November 2015, we were so excited to tell them about how our lives have changed since we started going to school two months ago. Every day Jamil and I walk to the “Generation Peace” School in our neighborhood. I’m proud to be one of the top students in my class. I get upset when I get a 9/10 on my tests and always try to get 10/10! My favorite subjects are math and Arabic. I felt proud when I showed my notebooks to the Karam Team and they exclaimed, “your handwriting is so beautiful!” I heard my mother tell them that she never imagined Jamil would “ever open a book” after what we had been through. He is still afraid sometimes. But he goes to school with me and also has neat handwriting!"  -Elen

UPDATE - MARCH 2016: "I really love school. I wake up everyday on my own because I am so excited to get to school and see my friends and go to class. My brother sometimes has a hard time waking up. But I tell him every morning that school is good for us and that it is better than doing nothing. I really enjoy math because it pushes me to think on my own. I am first in my class. I really love my teacher Miss Rana, she works very hard with me. Jamil likes his Arabic and English classes. We are so happy to go to school. Thank you Karam!" - Elen

UPDATE - JUNE 2016: "This past year has been amazing. Jamil and I are both first in our class! Jamil learned how to read and write. Jamil is so careful when he is doing his homework. As for me, I’ve learned and grown so much. This summer, I will be taking Turkish and English classes at my school which I am so excited about!  Thank you so much!" - Elen

UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 2016: "This summer, we visited our grandparents and I went to a Qu’ran class. We are so excited to go back to school in order to see our friends. Jamil promised that he would listen to the teacher more this year, and I am really excited to study hard. We are both excited to study hard and learn new subjects." - Elen + Jamil

UPDATE - DECEMBER 2016: “The first semester was so much fun. I learned a lot and I know that Jamil did too. He is lucky because he got to go on a field trip because he is still young. Jamil and I are both really good at math and because it is my favorite subject, he says it’s his too but I think he is just trying to copy me! Marwa, my best friend, and I always have discussions about everything and she is a big help to me in school and I help her too. Jamil plays soccer all the time with his friend Hamza.” Love, Elen

UPDATE - JANUARY 2017: "The first semester was so much fun. I learned a lot and I know that Jamil did too. He is lucky because he got to go on a field trip because he is still young. Jamil and I are both really good at math and because it is my favorite subject, he says it's his too, but I think he is just trying to copy me! Marwa, my best friend, and I always have discussions about everything and she is a big help to me in school and I help her too. Jamil plays soccer all the time with his friend Hamza." -Love, Elen

UPDATE - MARCH 2017: “For a while now we’ve been waiting to get our US visa since my dad needs medical treatment and we thought it would be best to go there. Finally we were able to get our visa and soon we will be moving to the United States. We are very grateful for being one of the families that Karam Foundation has sponsored, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your generosity and kindness.” – Elen

UPDATE -  OCTOBER 2017: “Since our arrival in Portland a few months ago, we are adjusting much better in our new home. It is still hard with my father’s disability but because of Karam Foundation’s ongoing help, like rent support and transportation disability, we are able to navigate and understand the US lifestyle. Also I am doing well in school. I love school very much! I get to explore singing and I am even teaching my mother English. I still want to be a doctor one day and maybe with the opportunities in the US, this might happen. My family and I are so grateful for this. Thank you for making it possible for us to reach our dreams.” -Elen

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