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Donation Funnel

A mother’s resilience: A journey from crisis-stricken Syria to Lebanon

Umm Oussama, a 44-year-old mother from Qalamoun, Syria embodies the resilience and strength many refugees are forced to find within themselves.

Umm Oussama’s life in Syria was filled with joy and laughter, but in 2014 it was brutally shattered by the escalating conflict. Devastating airstrikes destroyed her home and claimed the lives of her beloved husband and 3 precious children. The memory of that tragic day still haunts her, particularly the heart-wrenching loss of her 14-year-old son, Ali.

With her life in ruins, Umm Oussama joined the mass exodus of Syrians desperately seeking refuge. Enduring a difficult journey through dangerous mountainous terrain, she and her family eventually arrived in Aarsal, a village in Lebanon’s Bekaa region. It is here that they found a new home, a place of refuge away from their decimated homeland.

Another devastating blow

Just as Umm Oussama began to rebuild her life in Lebanon, she was struck by another devastating blow – a cancer diagnosis. The high cost of medical treatment in Lebanon forced her to seek treatment in Syria, only to face further obstacles due to the ongoing unrest in her homeland. Upon her return to Lebanon, she discovered that she no longer had access to United Nations’ aid and medical coverage. Umm Oussama’s battle against cancer became an uphill struggle, with mounting medical bills and depleting resources. The economic crisis in Lebanon worsened the family’s plight, leaving Umm Oussama and her children without essential support.

Amid these daunting challenges, Umm Oussama draws strength from her 4 remaining children and remains determined to create a better future for them. She strives to fulfil her late husband’s wish for their children to receive an education and memorise the Qur’an.

While their circumstances have been eased to some extent by Islamic Relief’s support, which includes supplying food parcels and other basic items, the ongoing struggle to balance medical costs, her children’s necessities, and education persists. Umm Oussama hopes for a more sustainable source of support, one that will enable her family to move forward in life.

Syrian mother Umm Oussama
Our journey has been extraordinarily difficult, yet it is the unwavering hope in our hearts that sustains us. This hope is for a better tomorrow, where my children can pursue their dreams without being shackled by their circumstances. It is the hope that I can overcome my health challenges and continue to nurture my children. It is the hope that we will once again find a place that feels like home.

Umm Oussama, a 44-year-old mother from Qalamoun, Lebanon

“Every day, we feel how powerful hope and never giving up can be. We want to tell our story, bring attention to what’s happening to us Syrians and show why we still need help.

“Even with all the bad stuff from before and now, we keep our heads up, always hoping for a better future. We want to get our respect and dreams back. We keep pushing, hoping that one day we get to go back home.”

Standing in solidarity with refugees

Umm Oussama’s story is a testament to the strength of the human spirit, especially in the face of adversity. It serves as a reminder that we must stand in solidarity with families like hers, who are forced to seek refuge far from their homes.

As the number of displaced people worldwide continues to rise, it is crucial to recognise the strength and courage displayed by refugees. Let us shine a light of hope in the darkness, igniting compassion and understanding, and working towards a world where refugees can rebuild their lives and reclaim their dreams.

Islamic Relief urges individuals to lend their voices and support by signing and sharing the #withrefugees petition and donate to Islamic Relief to empower refugees to live dignified lives, ensuring that no one is left behind in their pursuit of a better tomorrow.

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