Shahera's Story

“Before the war, Zabadani in Syria was beautiful. But it’s destroyed now, they’ve destroyed everything. It feels like you’ve lost your roots. You’ve lost your good memories of home.”

When the war started, Ahmed was arrested by the regime, like lots of people were. He was moved from jail to jail so no one knew where he was. A man came to see us and said if we gave him money, he’d get Ahmed’s body back from the jail, so I thought he was dead. It was a cruel thing to do but in the war, some people did terrible things. Ahmed’s brother was killed because he didn’t want to join the army. He was put against a wall and shot by a firing squad.

We left Syria in 2014. No one wants to be forced to leave their country but we had to. Ahmed’s journey was through the mountains at night. 

There were nine people with him, four of them were arrested when they got to Lebanon. The soldiers put hoods over their heads and took them away but Ahmed got through. The next day, a friend of Ahmed’s took the same journey but someone in his group stepped on a landmine. Two people died. I was able to get out of Syria legally, but I had to travel alone with our son who was just one year old.

We lived in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon. It’s surrounded by army checkpoints and they won’t leave you out. The situation is getting worse. All of us were afraid that they’d force us back to Syria.

“The most important thing for us is our children. I want them to live somewhere really safe. Somewhere that will stay safe. I want to find good work. I want a normal life, like everybody else”

The group were waiting for us in the Dublin airport. They had signs saying ‘marhaba’ (Arabic for hello) and ‘welcome to Ireland’. It was an unforgettable moment.
It was really amazing to know that people wanted you here and that you were not alone. They are our family in Ireland, because I don’t have anybody here.
Are you interested in getting involved? Find out how to take part by clicking the link:

The Open Community CLG is the national support organisation for Ireland’s Community Sponsorship Programme for Refugees. Registered Company No. 739429

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