Montaha is a mother of four from Aleppo, in Syria. Due to strikes in her area, her family and neighbors were forced to leave. She left everything behind: ID documents, friends, family photos... with only enough time to put on her coat.
She remembers that when they left, they had to walk all the way to her parents’ house; the streets were covered in debris and glass from the strikes.
When the strikes also reached that household, they found another shelter that they had to share with 45 other people. In this area, she suffered from how people looked at them only because they were displaced.
At the beginning, her new neighbors did not want to interact with her family. “We were nothing.” And they had nothing. “When we were going out to buy some food, I would make my kids enter the shop from the back door so that they would not desire anything which I could not afford. I didn’t want to see the look in their eyes.”
Her resilience and what she was doing for her children despite her illness impressed her neighbors. “We left a good impression.”
Her children have been living their entire adolescence in displacement. Since the beginning of their journey, Montaha had to educate them herself. “I asked my son if he wanted to study chemistry and when he said yes, I made sure he would go to university. I fight to help them make the best decisions.”
Montaha also learned how to knit in order to earn some money and to make sure that one day, her children would go to university. Now, one of them is studying chemistry. She adds, proudly: “I fought so hard so we could stay all together and live with love.”