A Syrian Marathon Of Hardships For Single Mothers!

A Syrian Marathon Of Hardships For Single Mothers!

Reports | 25 05 2020

Umm Mohammed arrived to the Syrian capital of Damascus, coming from the countryside of Idlib (northwestern Syria) 5 years ago, with her children, to settle down and find a job.

 “I live in an underground room in Al-mashari’ neighbourhood in Damascus, with three children, the oldest of whom is a nine-year-old girl, the other one is a 7-year-old, and the youngest is a 6-year-old," she said.  “I arrived to Damascus with my children. I suffered a lot so that I could gather them in this room,” said Umm Mohammed to Rozana Radio.  

Her husband disappeared six years ago. She does not know anything about him yet. She waited in Idlib for a year before she thought about immigrating to Damascus, although many sought refuge in Turkey. She thought at that time that Damascus was large and wide and that she could find work there to save herself as well as her children from the onslaught of death, and at the same time remain in her country Syria and when the war is over, she can go  back home. However, she did not expect the war to last for so long, she said.

“I worked in restaurants and as a housemaid; I worked in the cleaning of warehouses and in the night ovens as well. I used to leave my children alone and go to work. My eldest daughter played the role of the mother, and the little girl who did not know much about life was the mother of her brothers in my absence. Life is inherently harsh and difficult for women, let alone during war and in the husband’s absence,” said Umm Mohammed.  

Surviving a storm inside a cupboard

Umm Mohammed is now working as a maid in a primary school. When she returns to the room, she embroiders the beads on the dresses she brings from certain shops, and she returns them to their owners. She gets some cash for that.

"The situation is still difficult despite the two jobs I do, but it is much better than it was at the beginning ... When the last snowstorm came, there was not enough oil or clothes or blankets in the room, and my children were placed in the wooden cupboard that had once been donated by a neighbour. I put them inside it with the blankets and clothes I have, to warm them up ... The storm has departed, but this memory will never depart from my mind,”  said Umm Mohammed. 

Umm Mohammed will not forgive her husband. She will never forgive him for leaving her alone with her children in a ruthless world, and between "errant wieners,” she said.

The story of Umm Mohammed is similar to the stories of many Syrian mothers who were left alone with their children during a war that caused men to be displaced either to death or to asylum. 

Stuck in Germany

Jian came to the province of Arbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region of Iraq. She had come from the city of Qamishli (northeast of Syria) in a previous period to apply for family reunion for her and her two children in the German embassy. After two months of waiting, the response was issued and her application was rejected.

"My husband arrived to Germany and we could not reunite. He asked me to do so at the German Embassy in Erbil, I spent all the money I received from my husband and my family, and in the end I did not get anything," Jian told Rozana.

"My husband is stuck in Germany. He does not want to go back, for the German laws may change and he can save us, and I could not stay in Erbil because the cost of living is very high, so I went back to Qamishli. Here my parents are supporting me. My children can go to school, and I can do some work. " 

Without the help of her parents, Jian would have faced, along with her two children, an uncertain fate. Her husband sent an amount of money in a previous period, and then stopped because he could no longer afford it and because his situation is getting difficult as he told her. 

"My husband travelled with many Syrians during the period when Europe's borders were open, but he was stuck in Greece for about a year before arriving to Germany on a trip that caused him to run out of money and health, and he was granted residency without the right to reunite his family," said Jian.  

Jian does not and cannot think about the future. All that she is thinking about now is the life of her two children, but she fears that the war will come to her city since the situation of militarization, and the state of widespread prevalence of arms warn of a war that she does not know when it will start in the city. This is what is actually frightening her. 

"My husband sometimes contacts us. Previously, his contacts were more than they are are now. He used to spend more time talking to us, but now he is busy learning German and looking for a job" said Jian.   
Jian feels afraid of Europe, she fears her husband will leave her for another woman, but she does not continue talking about it because that causes her to feel worried and makes her lose concentration. She wants to be always sober to be able to look after her two children and manage their affairs. She said that her situation is much better than that of her neighbour, whose husband has been stuck in Greece for two years and is still there, Jian concluded. 

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