My first week in Antep is over and there are a lot of things I have experienced, seen and listened to. First of all I have to say that I am really happy with my surrounding – all the people I have met. So many amazing people I live with, spend time with, and especially work with! This is of uttmost important while working in this field, where you deal with human tragedies on daily basis.
As I expected, it is one thing to be back home in Germany and read about the war in Syria, its consequences for the people, and the situation of the refugees. Here, so many people, colleagues, friends, clients have their own stories, ways of dealing with it, and dreams! I have so much respect for each of them ! I myself cannot even imagine how it must be like when your country is destroyed in a war nobody really understands and your family is torn apart; when you have to leave your country, because your personal security is not guaranteed anymore; when you move to another country, where you are a stranger, and have to start new with sometimes not more than some little savings and alone! Of course the Syrians I meet here are not a homogenous group. The biggest difference is the level of education and financial background. There are people who study here and work within the Syrian Refugee Response to help, and there are familys with 15 children living in one overpriced room somewhere in the city trying to earn their living with collecting plastic bottles from the streets. There are people who are politically persecuted trying to escape to Europe, and people who suffer from diseases which cannot bee treated in Syria anymore, sometimes not even here in Turkey. And especially, there are all these children. The average family seeking help from ASAM coming from the Aleppo region have five to eight children, who cannot go to school here, because they are either not accepted by schools/the fees are to high ot they have to work for the family’s income. Seeing these traumatized children, who all have gone through a lot in their young lives already, and whose future is more than unclear touches me particularly. UNHCR’s expression for them, “The lost generation”, is unfortunately more than true. Almost half of the Syrian refugee population are children…. It was on my first day at ASAM during a psychosocial activity when one little boy said: “I wished the war in Syria ended and we could go back home!” The wish of another boy was to go back to school, while at the same time a six years old girl said: “I wished Bashar was dead.” Actually, there is nothing to add to the overall situation when you here these wishes!