Teenagers participate in "Youth Club" at the Franz van der Lugt Centre in Bourj Hammoud, Lebanon. (Kristóf Hölvényi/Jesuit Refugee Service)

Bourj Hammoud, 22 March 2017 – My name is Mariyam and I am from Syria. I was born on July 11th, 2000 in Idlib, Jisr El Shughour. I studied up to first grade in Idlib. I was very young when I had to leave my classes and my relatives to move to Damascus, Duma, because of my father’s work. We were surprised by what we found. I was in a new environment, but after days, months, and years, I became accustomed to everything: the people, places, customs, and traditions. We used to go back to Idlib to visit my father’s family for a few days. 

I never expected, in my life, to get out of Sham, but during that time something called war and destruction started. We were forced to leave, and times were hard. With the help of people from Damascus, we were able to get out and get back to Idlib. There, once again, I had to get used to schools, customs, and people. I was starting a new life again. 

During that time, my life changed. I was tired from moving to new schools and making new relations with new people. Thankfully, I passed all of my classes and was able to study to the seventh grade in Jisr El Shughour. Soon after, the atmosphere of ruin, destruction and war moved to Idlib. We went through untold times of fear, disturbance, and siege. My family began to fall apart little by little, and everyone started to move to a remote location and away from one another. When we had to move away from each other, I felt like a piece of my soul was separating from my body, and I was about to lose it and not see it again. Days and months passed without talking, and I forced myself to live without the people that I love, always hoping that we would see each other once again. 

How long will we be able to hold on? We were supposed to go to Turkey, but suddenly the decision has changed and we decided to come to Lebanon instead. We decided to leave everything, our house, our country, our friends, and our relatives. My father and mother lived here, in Lebanon, in Achkout for fifteen years. We came to Lebanon thinking that everything would be provided from my cousin Ahmad, but suddenly we lost connection with Lebanon for a month. After one day, we decided to come here, and I thank God we arrived safe. We were surprised to find out that Ahmad quit his job and that he could not provide us with anything. We went to my uncle who was staying in Tanourine. The first days he hosted us were wonderful, but eventually we had to find our own place to live because we did not want to be a burden on anyone. We had to stay in a house, until we were able to establish ourselves. The house was full of insects and rats. Then we moved to a wooden house with almost no window in it. Now, we are staying in an apartment, on the sixth floor, with no elevator. 

Despite all the difficulties we are going through, at every stage, we thank God for everything. We are just waiting for relief.

I met new friends, again, when I first came to Lebanon, and we are all still together. I registered in a school with a French curriculum for eighth grade. It is so difficult for me, especially because I didn’t take this subject when I was a child. But still it is better than other institutes, where you are not given a certificate to move to a higher grade.  

It is true that studying here is quite difficult for me, but JRS school is very kind with me, and helps me in difficult matters, which is helping me to improve. Now I have many certificates: Red Cross certificate, training certificate, First Aid, Paint Up, and English. I wish to become a Psychiatric nurse because I love listening to problems and helping. I want to have a room allocated for people to rest in it and feel better. Of course, I am practicing this with my friends and I dream that it will come true.

I have a shy personality, and I am not very bold, but I love to help everyone who needs help and support. I have a kind heart and went through very difficult issues in my life, but I thank God for patience, that I am overcoming it all, and thank God for everything.

Countries Related to this Region
Lebanon, Syria