The objects I brought

Child refugees share the stories behind the objects they brought from Syria

Claire McKeever
A handwritten note held in a boy's hands
UNICEF/2018/Herwig

20 December 2018

We asked children from UNICEF Makani Centres in Za’atari Refugee Camp to tell us about the objects they brought from Syria. These are their stories.

A red and blue teddy bear in a boy's hands
UNICEF/2018/Herwig
Omar holds his teddy bear 'Ben 10' which he brought from Syria

The Teddy Bear

Omar holds his teddy bear Ben 10 in Za’atari Refugee Camp. “My Ben 10 transforms into an alien from space and he saves the world,” says the 11 year old. “I brought it from Syria. My brother gave it to me before he died. 

Omar lost both of his older brothers in the conflict - one of them only 7 years old when he died. “He bought it for me in the market and told me to take care of it. We used to watch the cartoon together. I still watch it now.

“Most of our stuff we had to leave behind. This toy is as precious to me as my own brother. I’m going to keep it forever.”

His favourite subject is Maths and he studies hard to achieve his dream. “I want to become a pilot. I used to be afraid of planes but now I want to travel. Maybe if I get on a plane I won’t be afraid anymore.

“I’m the only boy now. I think my brother would be proud of me.”
 

A schoolbag in a boy's hands
UNICEF/2018/Herwig
Qusai, 13 years, holds a schoolbag he brought from Syria

The Schoolbag

Qusai, 13 years, holds a schoolbag in Za’atari Refugee Camp. “I was in first grade in Syria and my Dad gave me this schoolbag. I was only little then but now I’m in the sixth grade.”

Although the schoolbag is now too small for him, he still keeps it safe. “It’s important to me because my father gave it to me as a gift. Also because it is from my country.”

He still has happy memories from life in Syria, including going to school. “I used to feel really happy when break came and I could go to the shop. I remember playing in the schoolyard – my friends chasing me and me chasing them.”

His favourite subject is English and he wants to become an English teacher when he grows up.

A handwritten note held in a boy's hands
UNICEF/2018/Herwig
Hamza, 14 years, holds a handwritten note, from his teacher in Syria

The Teacher's Note

Hamza, 14 years, holds a handwritten note, from his teacher in Syria, in Za’atari Refugee Camp.

“This note was written by my teacher when I was in first grade in Syria. It’s a thank you letter to my family saying that I am a good student.”
The note calls Hamza a star.

“I made sure to put it in my bag when we were coming here.”

Hamza is now in the eighth grade and has made a big effort to keep achieving academically, despite the disruption to his education.  

“It’s important for me to keep it because it reminds me of when I was the best student in my class.”

A doll in a girl's hands
UNICEF/2018/Herwig
Yara, 10 years, holds a doll she brought from Syria

The Doll

Yara, 10 years, holds a doll in Za’atari Refugee Camp. “This toy is from Syria. Her name is Farah.

She still remembers her bedroom in Syria. “It was white and I had teddy bears and one was really big. Bigger than me.

“It got scary in Syria. There were shootings. Dad said get your stuff together, we’re going. So I put Farah in my bag. I told her we’re going to Za’atari. I told her don’t made any sound. She was scared.

“We were both happy when we arrived in the camp. I brought a pink dress too just like Farah’s."

Yara goes to school in the camp and wants to be a pharmacist when she grows up so she can give people medicine that will heal them. 

 

House keys in a girl's hands
UNICEF/2018/Herwig
Rudaina, 11 years, holds her house keys from Syria

The House Keys

Rudaina, 11 years, holds house keys in Za’atari Refugee Camp.

“These are my house keys. I brought them with me because when we go back to Syria, I’m going to be the one who opens the door.

“My parents tell me that Syria is beautiful. I was so little that I don’t remember."

Rudaina is in fourth grade and her favourite subject is Maths. She wants to be a pediatrician when she grows up.

“We once had a home but now we live in a caravan. I feel so sad when I hold the keys because I’m so far away from home.”
 

All children photographed attend UNICEF Makani centres in Za’atari Refugee Camp - where they receive integrated learning support, community-based child protection, early childhood development and youth services.