26 June 2013
Vian, whose name means ‘kingdom of love’, is 22-years-old. She and her husband, along with their two small children, left Syria when they decided their hopes of staying were lost.
An exhausting escape
Smuggled to the Iraqi border, they made the long and exhausting journey inland; walking for more than eight hours with their two little girls.
'We nearly collapsed many times,' she told us. 'We could not even walk.’
Vian, who is expecting her third child, has a BA in trade and economics and was a science teacher in Syria.
‘We wouldn’t have left our family and our country if it wasn’t so dangerous,’ she said. ‘If we didn’t see the fear in our children each time they heard the bombs.’
‘‘In the future I want to return. God willing, we will have a good life.’
Left with nothing
Living as a refugee in a country that is not her own and away from her mother and father, Vian feels, she says, like a stranger.
Vian tells us: 'I’m still not used to it here. I’m not settled. Whatever I had, I left.'
All that she has is a video cassette of her engagement and wedding, and a photo album, which she has brought with her from home to remind her of her life in Syria.
One of hundreds
Vian is one of hundreds who arrive in northern Iraq from Syria every day.
'My little girl keeps saying, “Mama, let’s go home.”'
Fleeing from the bombs and fighting, many people arrive with little to nothing, and are reliant on the support extended by the Kurdish host community, as well as by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and local non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
The only official refugee camp in northern Iraq, Dohuk, is already overcrowded. Many people have therefore travelled further, to places like Arbat and Banjan around Sulaimaniya in northern Iraq, where they are living in informal refugee settlements.
Providing vital support
Christian Aid partner REACH is working in informal refugee settlements on the outskirts of Sulaimaniya, providing vital support such as hygiene kits to some 1,500 refugee families.
Please donate to the Syria Crisis Appeal today to help our partners to continue such vital work.