Honoring Refugees: Sarah, A Story of Resilience
Geneva, 19 June 2019 - With the war in Syria in its eighth year, there is as yet no end in sight to the crisis and millions of Syrian women and men sacrifice themselves, becoming heroes to ensure the safety of their families. This is the story of one of them.
By Amjad Amareen (*)
The war in Syria has forced some 12 million people from their homes, half of whom have fled the country. Seeking safety, hundreds of thousands of families have uprooted themselves, abandoning homes and loved ones to embark on a journey to countries unknown to them. Unfortunately, the hardships do not end with the journey. Having arrived in their country of refuge, they endure new adversities, be they social, economic, physical or mental.
On this World Refugee Day, we would like to remember these unsung heroes and share with you the story of Sarah, a graduate of the livelihoods program’s sewing class offered by the International Catholic Migration Commission in Irbid, Jordan.
In 2012, Sarah** and her family were forced to flee Dar’aa, a small city in southwestern Syria. They found shelter in neighboring Jordan. Sarah was pregnant at the time. Later on, she lost her youngest child to a congenital heart condition, aggravated by the physical and mental pressures suffered on the journey.
This loss greatly impacted Sarah and her family. Her husband who, with two jobs, used to be the sole family breadwinner, developed a deep psychological wound that rendered him unable to work normally. Her other two children are too frightened to sleep alone at night.
“Seeing my family’s situation and the condition of my husband and children, I had to do something. I had to overcome my sorrows, take charge of my family and support my husband,” Sarah explains. Trying to bring a sense of normalcy back to her life and that of her family, she began looking for employment.
She found a job with a local tailor, but the pay was too low to cover the growing expenses of her family, including their rent. Yet Sarah did not give up. Looking for better opportunities, she heard about ICMC’s livelihoods program. She enrolled and learned skills that allowed her to start a small sewing business at home.
“I was able to confront the emergency and help my family overcome the loss of our child. Though I am still at the beginning of my career, doing mainly repairs for local ladies, I hope my business will pick up so that I can support my family better,” says Sarah.
“In the same way that ICMC has helped me, I am trying to help my husband to overcome his loss through teaching him to sew. I hope one day we will be able to open a successful sewing workshop of our own.”
On this World Refugee Day, let us remember, honor and pray for refugees around the world who, like Sarah, do not give up their dreams and continue to fight adversity.
- ICMC Jordan's vocational training program helps Syrian refugees and vulnerable Jordanians develop a variety of income-generating skills. Some 200 students, including Sarah, have graduated over the last ten months. Usually, about half of the graduates manage to use their newly acquired skills to generate an income. ICMC also refers graduates to small businesses for job matching.
* Amjad Amareen is communications officer with ICMC Jordan.
**The name has been changed to protect the person’s identity.