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 In his own words

Khaled continues his studies, with one pen and one notebook, at a school in the Nizip refugee camp in Turkey.  ©UNICEF/Turkey-2013/Feyzioglu

Khaled continues his studies, with one pen and one notebook, at a school in the Nizip refugee camp in Turkey. ©UNICEF/Turkey-2013/Feyzioglu

Nizip, Turkey, February 17, 2014 – My name is Khaled Ahmad Al-Rajab and I am 17 years old. My family has been living in the Nizip refugee camp for a year and I have been here for 10 months.

Despite everything, things here are better than in Syria. At least here we’re safe and we have food. Our mind is at rest. But some things are annoying. For me for example, I’m a baccalaureate student and I only have one notebook and one pen. School has been open for three months and we still haven’t had a single lesson. Also, I’m 17 and I can only get out of the camp if accompanied by either one of my parents. 

When the bombardments and shelling intensified in Syria and our economic situation worsened, my dad suggested I go to Lebanon to work. He said it would be better than me sitting around and the family would be less worried about me. I had only been working in Tripoli’s vegetable market for a month when I heard that my parents were in Turkey and that our home was destroyed.

I headed back to Syria as soon as I heard the news. Being able to get out of Tripoli was a miracle in itself. I stayed on the border for two nights before I could cross into Syria.

When I saw our house destroyed I didn’t know what to do. Very few of my relatives were still in Syria at that time – most had already left for Turkey. I stayed with them several weeks but it was too miserable. It was so unsafe. There was shelling every day. I couldn’t take it any longer so I called my dad and he asked me to join the rest of the family in Turkey.

When I got to the Bab Al Hawa crossing, I didn’t have a passport so I had to be smuggled in. I had to wait from morning to night before the borders opened and I could cross. When I reached Rehanyia, I spoke to my dad again and he gave me directions to get to the camp.

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