PERSONAL STORIES

GOODBYE

W.A., mother of 4 children (3 girls/1 boy – her 3-year-old girl is tetraplegic) recalls:

My husband left Syria for Germany a year ago. My children and I left Damascus in February 2016, planning to cross over into Turkey, then to Greece and ultimately arrive in Germany. That’s what we were told… I took some cash and jewelry with me which my in-laws gave me. We were a group of women and children. After crossing the border, the smugglers took our bags and with them some of our money and important papers. I walked for three days with my youngest daughter on my back so we wouldn’t cause any delays….Once we crossed over into Turkey, as we were walking in the mountains, we were attacked by a group of men…we were ordered to take off our clothes and they took the remaining cash and jewelry we had hidden in our clothes…they threw our clothes in front of us and we put them on again leaving us with nothing. We reached the shores of Turkey, from there to Chios, then Athens, Idomeni, Katerini, the refugee camp and now in a house, you have taken us in…we have a house with a door that locks, a key! You have given us provisions, food, we can cook and have meals like a family, you treat us with dignity…We have a life again!”

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Ν.Α., mother of 3 girls (ages 3, 4, and 1) recalls:

“I worked as an assistant in a law office in Damascus, I had a good life and I left it all behind and fled…my husband is in Germany…he is waiting for us…this war is destruction. You found us in this state and you gave us a home to live in, to live like a real family.”

[This woman’s husband came to see them while they were still at the camp. When we transferred them from the camp he was present. When they saw the apartment and were given the key, they hugged and kissed and thanked us. The next day as he was leaving, he told us “I am going back to Germany, but I am leaving my wife and children with my new brothers…you!”]

M.G., father (with wife and their one-year-old boy) shares:

“You took us out of Idomeni in March, have given us a place to stay for the past four months, provided us with shelter, showed us much love and care; we lacked nothing. You treated us with dignity and respect. You have imprinted our hearts with a huge stamp of love which will never be erased!”

[This family shared these thoughts with us during the farewell gathering organized in their honor as they had been notified of their relocation approval and had to depart for Athens. We have been told that they are relocating to France.]

PERSONAL STORIES FROM THE ‘CHRISTMAS VILLAGE’ CONCERT IN THE CITY CENTER

J.I, 65-year-old man

“You took us back to Syria, back when we could celebrate with our families and friends and did not have war.”

S.M., 50-year-old woman

“You helped me to relax.”