Nansi, aged 7, is a confident bubbly girl who lives in a Palestinian refugee camp
in Lebanon. She lives with her mother Samira, 42, and her two sisters and four brothers.
Nansi is the youngest child.
Her father died of a heart attack almost two years ago. Nansi still cries when something
reminds her of him, even something as small as his signature on a piece of paper.
Her eldest brother, Ali, had to give up school and take responsibility for the family
and like his father before him, he works as a labourer.
Nansi is very bright and is doing very well at school. She skipped a year of kindergarten
and started school early. Her favourite subject is mathematics and she wants to
be a maths teacher when she grows up. Nansi also enjoys English, but struggles with
Nansi lives in Ein el-Hilweh, a semi-permanent refugee camp for Palestinians near
Sidon. There are no parks in the camp, and it is not safe for her to play outside.
Nansi’s mother, Samira, also grew up as a refugee in Ein el-Hilweh, and her children
are no different. Nansi is part of the fourth generation of Palestinians living
here, waiting to go home.
Ein el-Hilweh is the largest refugee camp in Lebanon, crammed with over 45,000 people.
Nearly half are children under the age of fifteen. During the conflict in 2006,
Ein el-Hilweh took in thousands of people fleeing the heavy bombardment further
south. The camp became even more crowded, and Samira was afraid that it might become
a target as a result.
The war was terrifying. There was no safe place for Nansi’s family to escape to.
Samira had experienced war before, but was able to escape the fighting in the past.
This time nowhere seemed safe, so she decided to stay.
Nansi's father used to provide for his family by working on building sites as a
foreman, but work was hard to find. There might be work one day, followed by nothing
for ten days. His income barely covered their daily needs.
After he died, Samira relied on help from family until her children were sponsored.
The sponsorship money now pays for food and other basic needs. She hopes her children
will do well at school, remain healthy and have everything they need to live happily.
Find out more about Islamic Relief's Orphan Sponsorship programme
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