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Little Fathi*, 3, and Zeinah*, 1, were starting out their lives just like many children in typical American families. Their family had a comfortable life, surrounded by a large, tight-knit family. Farah*, their caring stay-at-home mom, was hoping to go back to college when her young children got a bit older. Their doting father Adnan*, a school teacher, was pursuing a law degree. Then, one of their greatest joys, a lovely home with a beautiful view of a nearby city suddenly became their worst nightmare.
Their home, where Fathi and Zeinah played and slept sung in their beds, was seized by fighters. Their scenic views made for a good lookout point in the violent armed conflict that had sprawled into their once peaceful community. Soon after the fighters arrived, their home was destroyed. Homeless, with deadly bombings encroaching on them, they fled for their lives. `Farah and Adnan made the choice to leave their home in order to keep their children safe.
“My children were born in the city and my whole family lived there, but we had to flee to Turkey during one of the outbreaks of fighting,” said Farah. “If we hadn’t left when we did we would have been killed along with so many other people. We left Syria at the right time.”
Farah, Adnan and their children stayed in Turkey for one year before making the short but treacherous journey to Kos, Greece. Farah thought they would die on the boat there, and when they arrived they were often not treated well in their hotels and had to keep moving around. Farah estimates they spent almost $1,400 on hotel rooms their first week in Kos. (how much is $1400 for the average Syrian)
Spending money on hotels is not their only worry though. Both of their children desperately need to see a doctor.
“No one knows what is wrong with my son,” Farah said. “His eyes are always inflamed, he has a sore throat and every night his nose bleeds. My baby [Zeinah] also needs a doctor as she is bow legged and needs her legs corrected.”
Their journey is far from over. Farah and Adnan are soon leaving Greece to make their way to Germany, a nearly 2,000 mile trek. If they safely reach their final destination, Save the Children will be able to step in and provide their children the medical and psychological care that they need. Farah is just ready to find a place to call home.
“I want to believe we can have a secure and peaceful life again.”
*Names have been changed for the protection of children and their families.