When shelling hit Umm Abdo’s village, she lost her husband, and her home was destroyed.
Forced to flee under the cover of darkness carrying her young children, she was able to hitch a ride to a camp for displaced persons in the north of Syria.
“It is difficult to describe to you what we suffer in this camp, life is very miserable, and the responsibilities are great on my shoulders,” she says.
Before the war, Umm Abdo owned land, harvesting crops and selling them to make a living, but now the family live in a tent without a father to provide for them.
Umm Abdo is just one of millions of people who fled their homes for other parts of Syria since the civil war began in 2011.
Many, like Umm Abdo, now live in makeshift camps, without adequate protection from the winter cold.
“At the start of the winter season, I collect sticks of firewood from nearby, but unfortunately, they are barely enough for us for a few days, and I do not have enough money to buy firewood from the market,” Umm Abdo says.
“The weather is very cold here, especially as we live in a canvas tent that does not protect us from the cold at all. Our lives depend on what charitable people give us and the humanitarian organisations working here in northern Syria.”
“Recently, we spent most of our time in our neighbours’ tent, warming up there because I didn’t have heating materials, but at nightfall we had to return to our tent and cover with blankets to feel a little warm.”
“After, Islamic Relief provided us with enough coal so we can stay inside our tent, without the need to go to our neighbours’ tents or collect firewood.”
“With this warmth, we are reminded of our beautiful life before the war. I ask Allah to return us to our villages and homes so we can live in peace with our relatives and neighbours who have been separated from us by this war.”
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