Rabia and her daughter Yasmin take shelter from the snow and freezing temperatures in a tent with their family. Photo credit: Jonathan Hyams/Save the Children, January 2016.

Rabia and her daughter Yasmin take shelter from the snow and freezing temperatures in a tent with their family.

Rabia and Mohamed's Story

"We had to Leave Because of Our Children…We Had No Other Option."

Looking back, Rabia* and Mohamed* never thought the war in Syria would reach their village. They lived a quiet life with their young son, away from the mayhem going on in the cities. Rabia was expecting their second child, a daughter, when the war showed up at their doorstep.

"Before the war in Syria our lives were fine. But when the war came, everything became very difficult. All of the systems and organizations in the town fell to the extremists. All the schools changed and all the cities started to fall apart," Rabia said. "We didn't know who was fighting whom anymore. We had to leave because of our children. We had no other option."

When their son Abdul* was 2, and their daughter Yasmin* was a 4-month old infant – they made the difficult decision to leave. First, they fled to Turkey, then continued on to Greece.

"The first time we tried to get a boat to Greece, a person drowned so we had to turn back," Rabia said. "When we got back to Turkey, we were arrested and put in jail."

Eventually, they were released and set out for Greece in an overcrowded boat.

"It took us eight hours to get to Greece. It was extremely cold. Everything was wet. The babies were ill. We had life jackets but everything was so wet that we were sinking. We threw our bags off the boat to stop it from sinking more."

Soaking wet, afraid, without any possessions, but grateful to be alive, they arrived in Greece. From there, they planned to take the train to Croatia and then make their way to Germany, where they can start over.

"We need our children to have a life. The best thing for our children is peace. They need to live."

*Names have been changed for protection


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