Arkan told me she feared what winter would bring.
‘We used to get support from the UN in the form of food but this has stopped this month. I think if we get through this winter we will be doing well,’ she said.
Their biggest fear is how they will keep their children warm this winter. The cost of oil for heating has more than doubled recently and Ali only gets work sporadically in Beirut. Refugees are only allowed to work in three sectors – farming, cleaning and construction – but work is hard to find.
I asked them if they wanted to return to Syria. Ali said they had nothing to go back to and it was much too dangerous. Arkan misses her extended family but agrees with her husband that it is too risky to return.
I heard similar stories everywhere I went – heart-breaking accounts of people having to flee their homes and real fears about what the future holds. But it was a privilege to meet these women, men and children and for them to trust me with their stories. They just want what we all want – to be safe, healthy and happy.
Trόcaire will continue to work with our partners to try to ensure that these people are able to live with dignity. The Trόcaire Christmas Appeal is focusing on the millions of people around the world forced from their homes because of conflict, the effects of climate change and other crises. I know things are tough for families here at home right now because of the cost of living challenges we are all facing but, if you are able, please do consider supporting the appeal. It will not only change lives but just might save some too.
One of Trόcaire’s Christmas Gifts this year is called ‘Winter Essentials’ (€25/£20) which will help provide warm winter clothing and materials to fix shelters in the camps in Lebanon where temperatures are expected to fall well below freezing in some parts. Visit trocaire.org