Words and photos: Berna Cetin
Syria is the biggest and most complex humanitarian crisis of our time, with the situation continuing to worsen. Through this series of portraits, the World Food Programme gives a voice to people caught up in the conflict. Here we meet Hala, whose account of her role helping other Syrians comes just days after World Humanitarian Day — an event that recognizes those who work tirelessly to improve the lives of others.
My name is Hala. I work for the World Food Programme and I am Syrian. I came to Turkey four years ago, early in the crisis. My family used to spend summers in Turkey, visiting relatives.
When the conflict started we thought we could just pass another summer here, and that by the autumn everything would be settled so we could go back. But of course, we couldn’t. I was studying English in Syria. I had nine more courses to finish but I never returned to my school. I am here now with my family.
I am working for the World Food Programme as a field monitor assistant in Gaziantep, in Turkey‘s Southeastern Anatolia Region We work in the most vulnerable districts. We identify Syrian families who most need our help.
Our job is to come and register people door-to-door. We give them the e-food card, which they can use to buy the food they need in contracted supermarkets. I feel that it is a great opportunity for me, that I get to help my own people.
I really feel that I should do this. I need to assist them because they are from my country. I feel happy when I see how happy they are receiving their cards.
The war in my hometown of Aleppo is really bad but my life in Turkey is Elhamdülillah (“Thanks to God”) really good. I don’t feel like a refugee here — I feel like Turkey is my second home.
I hope everything goes well in the future because Syria deserves it. I am proud to be Syrian, I miss every single street. The people are really tired, they need to go back to their country and feel safe.
You can show your solidarity and help bring attention to their stories by linking or sharing #IamSyrian stories on social media.
TAKE ACTION BY SIGNING the UNHCR #WithRefugees PETITION: withrefugees.org