Sana and Her Sisters Had to Leave Syria

Save the Children is helping thousands of children like Sana and her sisters to access education, to learn how to communicate about their experiences and — vitally — to learn how to be children again. Photo credit: Jonathan Hyams / Save the Children
Save the Children is helping thousands of children like Sana and her sisters to access education, to learn how to communicate about their experiences and — vitally — to learn how to be children again. Photo credit: Jonathan Hyams / Save the Children

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Sana* is three years old and fled Syria with her mother and three sisters. An increasingly brutal civil war is tearing Syria apart. One million people have now fled Syria and are sheltering in neighboring countries. Sana's 12 year old sister Yasmine* describes the reason the family left:

"We left Syria one week ago. There were so many explosions...so we had to leave Syria. What do I remember of Syria? I remember two things — our house being bombed, and not having any bread. Most of the houses were being hit. We had to stay in one room, all of us. The other rooms were being hit — shooting from the side of the other rooms. The bombs were hitting constantly, I was very scared."

Sana and her sisters were forced to live in one room for two weeks as their home was destroyed around them. Yasmine talks of her fear:

"I felt so afraid, I knew we could not move from that one room. There were 13 of us in total, crammed into one room. We did not leave that room for two weeks. It was always so loud."

All of the sisters were gathered at home one day, and saw their father killed outside their home. Yasmine describes that day:

"My father left the room. I watched my father leave, and watched as my father was shot outside our home. I started to cry, I was so sad. We were living a normal life. We had enough food, now we depend on others. Everything changed for me that day."

The family now live close to the Syria border in a neighboring country, in an informal settlement. Their tent is small, dank and dark, and none of the children are going to school. Their mother leaves them each day to try and find work in nearby towns, and to try and find food. Sana is deeply affected by what she witnessed and endured in Syria.

Save the Children has programs across different areas in Syria distributing essential life-saving items from warm coats, to food and safe water. We are also on the ground in Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, responding to the needs of Syrian children, their families and host communities. We are helping families to access basic services like healthcare, and are providing emergency food rations, emergency shelter kits and warm clothes. We are keeping children safe from harm and helping them to overcome their experiences by creating child friendly spaces, as well as helping children to access education.

*names have been changed to protect identities