Together again

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Khaled, Hazem, and Raghad are three siblings who live in Aleppo with their divorced mother. Their life was normal until the war broke out in their neighborhood. Days of disturbance hunger, and fear have passed on them. They bravely faced this all, with the hope that their small house remains safe. “We took all the pains of besiegement, but our only concern was the house. Mom spent a lot to make it a good living place for us after my father left with another woman.”, said 14-year-old Khlaed, the eldest among his siblings. A while later, a rocket hit their building. The house turned into dust. So, the young mother found herself alone in the street. She took her three children along with the sorrow of her heart and fled to Tartous. With nothing in hand, the family stayed in a tent at a suburb in Tartous. The three children had to drop school because of their harsh displacement. “I missed my school the most. I had to work to help my mother feed us. It was so difficult and exhausting to stay up all night to work in merchandise porterage.”, said the young man. It was not long before Khaled’s mother got missed. One night, he came back to their tent and found his siblings alone. He asked for his mother, and was told that she was still working. Three weeks passed and the mother was still absent. The children ate a little from what Khaled made in his work, until they were transferred into SOS Interim Care Center in Tartous, while our reunion team works on finding their mother and joining the family together again. At first, the two brothers were aggressive and showed signs of distrust. They were in a state of denial and shock after all that they have been through. Raghad, their little sister, was on the other hand quiet and shy. SOS psychological specialists and coordinators worked with the children, and enrolled them within group psychotherapy sessions to watch and protect their emotional fluctuations and development. The three children showed a quick and effective response to therapy. They built good relationships with the center’s staff and the other children, and grew passionate with the different activities and sports there. “Khaled is very special. Although he used to smoke because of the interaction with elders during his work as a porter, he quit very smoothly with the help of our specialists. From my perspective, I would never judge a child who smokes because he is a victim of war, loss, and social dissolution.”, says Mais, SOS psychosocial support specialist in Tartous. After the children’s indwelling in the center for three months, they were reunited with their mother. The family live now in a shelter house in Aleppo city, and the children all go to school now. “The tragedy we went through only made us stronger. I know my children had a very tough time, but believe me, mine was even worse. I did not know if they were even alive. I spent my days and nights in horror and pain. But from now on, I’d never let any child of mine work. They will go to school like all children their age.”, says Khaled’s mother. Khaled and his three siblings are a new reunion story to be added to 11 children who were reunited with their original family.