Syrian refugee portraits

 Emergency Response
 2nd Feb 2016

37 year old Faiza lives with her mother, husband and three children in Amman.


“Before we came here we were moving all around within Syria – sleeping in schools and mosques and moving to survive, but things just became too bad. People even began fighting over food and a place to sleep. Now I work to survive as a cleaner in my neighbours houses. When I first got to Jordan I was crying and I didn’t know what to do to survive, but because I’m an educated woman I thought I should be able to deal with this and keep my family alive. My husband used to work back in Syria but can’t any more after he was injured in the conflict – he’s like a child now; we have to feed him and he signs when he needs things and he likes watching children’s programmes with lots of bright colours on the TV, so I am now the one responsible for everything. Sometimes I even get so desperate that I think about sending my children back to Syria, even though I know it’s not safe. All I think, day and night, is about money and how to get it, how to pay rent, buy food and keep my children alive. 

Faiza also received CARE’s emergency cash assistance of US$ 183 and has been referred to other organisations to receive further assistance.

[left to right] 9 year old Aya and 11 year old Abdulrahman are brother and sisters from Homs in Syria and now living as refugees in Amman, Jordan. They live with their parents and two other siblings in an apartment. There was a bomb that went off next to our house and then we had to leave. Our parents told us it was because of all the bombs we were seeing that we were leaving. We moved to lots of different places in Syria before coming to Jordan but we were always so scared of getting hurt. We miss our home the most – it was so beautiful. But we are happy here too – the best thing about living here is school and studying and the new friends we have made!

10 year old Syrian refugee Amjad (left) and his best friend – 8 year old Omar who is from Jordan - became friends after both attending activities at the children’s safe is space in one of CARE’s urban refugee centres. Amjad:  I came to one of the ‘life story sessions’ at the centre and it was very interesting. I talked about my experiences and how I left Syria and what I liked about home. It made me feel better and helped me to remember home better. After three and a half years in Jordan I am starting to forget Syria; I forgot the name of the school I used to be in and the name of the street where I lived. When they asked me it, it took me 15 minutes to remember, but I’m so happy I did remember the details. I have made many friends here too, including Omar, who is my best friend.


16 year old Kareman (below) has been in Jordan for three and a half years as a refugee. She participated in peer support group activities at one of CARE’s urban refugee centres. When I first came to Jordan  I was very depressed  - having to leave my home, seeing everything destroyed and then coming here with no money and having to start from the beginning. Coming to the sessions at the CARE centre helped me overcome this. I learnt not to give up as this is my life and I need to be responsible for it. I kept this notebook at the time as part of the session and wrote down what happened to me which was very helpful. I went through the saddest moments of my life and realised I had overcome them all, which means I can overcome anything in the future and we also went over our happiest moments and I realised life is also full of happy moments, not just sad.

10 year old Juhaida (left) from Damascus, Syria. “I like it here in Azraq camp. I’m a very active person and I get to participate in many activities, like theatre and the camp magazine. The magazine is my favourite because I love my teacher and I get to write about school and football. Today I have been participating in a puppet show teaching the other children about hygiene promotion. It teaches them how to clean the street, and to take care of your personal hygiene. It is very important to keep clean because if you’re not clean you’ll have many diseases. When I grow up I want to work in a pharmacy, because now, when I see someone who is sick, it makes me sad and I want to have medicine to give it to them, and be kind to make them feel better.” Juhaida has participated in several psychosocial and recreational activities at CARE’s community center in the camp, including Capoeira classes, theatre, and CARE’s book club.


25 year old Nahed from Daraa, Syria is an incentivised volunteer with CARE in Azraq camp, Jordan. Back in Syria I was married and not working but I had decided to complete my studies and had just finished high school and was about to start university. I was studying for the last three years from home in Syria because it was too dangerous – there was too much bombing and women were being arrested, so it was not safe to go out. I would only go to the school to do my exams. Here in Jordan, even without a teacher, I still buy books and study by myself at home. But generally here in the camp I have no time to read - there are too many tasks like fetching water and looking after my five children, and at night there is no light to read by. My life’s dream is still to continue my education and go to university. I want to be able to help people and communities. Even if it takes 100 years, I will finish my education!

16 year old Hussam from Daraa in Syria has been in Azraq camp, Jordan for one year. I taught myself English here in the camp from YouTube and the ‘ideas box’ in the CARE centre. I would come to the centre every day to learn English. I had to do it myself because we don’t have the conditions to study here in the camp and I want to become a petrol engineer one day. I was actually in school in Syria doing my English finals when it was bombed, and many of my friends were killed. It was then we decided to leave the country and I decided it was a sign that I was meant to learn English because it happened during my English class. My dream is to help rebuild my country one day. The country is destroyed and we will have to rebuild it and it will need many doctors and engineers and farmers to do it. I’ve actually just found a scholarship online in the US for Syrians who can speak English and I have an interview on skype for it, so I am praying my English will be good enough and I can have a real opportunity to study. 



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