Hana (42), a mother of five children, has also spent the past six years in a refugee camp in Bekaa Valley after fleeing from Syria, and is receiving support from Trócaire/SAWA.
“During the winter, it is too cold here and there are many catastrophes where tents fell apart. Last winter was one of the worst winters Lebanon has ever had. I am very worried about how this winter will affect our children. Young children have started therapy in the camps because they were very scared. Some families had to leave the tents and re-build them,” Hana said.
“Children need warm coats and boots to stay warm. It’s very difficult for them. I wish that every child would have clothes to keep them warm and protect them from winter. The fuel crisis is very bad here, but I hope NGOs like Trócaire will be able to help us to keep warm. We have the gas cylinders, but they are empty. Last year, we had very small amounts of diesel so we had to tear off our clothes to put into the fire to keep it going. We would only use heating at dawn and sunset to keep us warm. Now that fuel prices are extremely high, we need support more than ever.”
Hana’s young daughters Roula (8) and Salma (10) said they are also very worried about how cold it can get in the winter.
“In the winter, it is too cold and there is a lot of rain. Sometimes we can’t open the door because there is too much snow. When there is snow, we used to wear our boots and we used to put bags around them to keep them dry and keep out the snow and water. We build snowmen to forget the cold, and we use carrots for his nose and olives for his eyes,” said Roula.
“We get very cold but we try and cover ourselves. We need winter boots and coats, but we need warm socks and underwear the most,” Salma said.
Hana, who is the leader of three refugee camps in the area, said that her hopes for her children get her through the day.
“My dream is for my children to achieve what I couldn’t. I dream for them to be educated and to have their own position in society. I want them to have a career and be happy.”
“It is my ultimate dream to return to Syria, to be safe there. I will never lose hope that this will be possible so maybe one day we will be able to.”
She adds that her biggest fear is the “unknown”.
“Every day there is a new surprise and challenge. We are now hearing that Syrians need to go back to their country. The economic crisis in Lebanon and not having food and fuel to survive is very challenging. Currently, Syrians cannot collect bread from bakeries because there is a bread crisis. I don’t know what’s coming next. It’s always a surprise.”