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Running to save my children

“As a parent, you run from your homeland only for the sake of your children. You don’t think of yourself and you can’t look back.”

Rabia, 44, fled Syria just over three years ago with her husband Horani and their two children.

“The last year we were in Syria was a worrying time for me. I would lock my children in the house and didn’t let them attend school. We heard about threats of kidnapping. We didn’t feel safe.”


“My youngest son has a disability and needs regular medical checks, but the fighting made that impossible. Then many doctors began to leave so I couldn’t get him the help he needed.”

The family fled to the UK via Turkey, where they had to spend several cold nights sleeping in a forest.

“Sometimes I think about that time and wonder – how did I do it? It was a very dangerous situation. Later we found out others had been robbed and killed in the forest.”

Missing mum

“I really miss everyone but especially my mum. She’s 84. She lived next door and we were very close. We were everything to each other – friends and neighbours, as well as mother and daughter.

“I call her two or three times a week, but there was a time when I couldn’t speak to her for eight months… It’s a long time not to know anything about your mother.”

New start

The family is now studying in the UK and Horani is looking for work.

Rabia said: “Now it is a new start – new culture, new language, new customs, new friends, new neighbours.

“We’ve had support from the British Red Cross and my teachers at college have encouraged me a lot. Now my younger son is getting the help he needs, and my older son is studying engineering. I am so proud of him.

“I have my studies, I have friends, I have my life and my family. I am lucky, and I am thankful.

“To have these things gives you a feeling of humanity.”

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