Um Fadi, 32-year-old mother of five, Homs Al-Qusour

I lived a normal, calm and safe life as any other Syrian woman in my country with a very good income and with no fears about the future. Suddenly everything has changed and our life started to collapse. My family’s life and mine were at risk and it became impossible to stay in Al-Qusour.

We had to move frequently from one place to another and from house to house in different towns inside Syria. My children had to leave their schools as they left the ordinary, secure life they deserve to live. Two years passed and things got worse. Violence has radically increased and the opposing parties have become more brutal. None of them care about citizens’ lives.

Similar to many other Syrians, our savings were reaching their end and we found no place to shelter us anymore. We decided to leave Syria and move to a country where my husband could find a job and my children could get an education. From very few options, we chose Egypt. Unfortunately, we found out later that it wasn’t the best choice because of the poor political situation in Egypt then. My husband couldn’t start a new business or find a decent job. Another year passed and our savings were used up. That was a crucial time for me, because it was the first time in my life I knew the meaning of being homeless. I felt that all doors were shut. It took me a war to know that the woman is not only a housewife and that motherhood does not end at giving birth.

I realized very late that a married woman with children is much more than a mom. However, as I was an uneducated woman who got married too young and had no chance to be anything more than a housewife for six [family] members, I tried to collect all my strength and put it in charge to save my family. The only thing I could do was needlework, which wasn’t more than a hobby I used to do in my free time. That unworthy hobby was my only chance. I started to work for a textile factory that makes Oriental clothing. I found out that my one and only hobby was worth a

fortune. I sewed and stitched day

and night to save money for my children’s schools and food. My husband found a decent job, which could afford our house rent.

The factory I worked for started a new line and I was able to serve jobs for another fifty Syrian women from the Syrian community in Egypt. Now when I look back at my life, I can see the huge difference in my personality. I feel much worthier than before and I feel satisfied towards my family and my community as well. I was able to fight my biggest fear, which is my children’s gloomy future apart from their country. Now I see life from a new perspective. I now know I can afford a living for me and my family no matter where or when.

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