Meet the mothers who carry water and hope
A look into the lives of women who fled the violence in northwest Aleppo
For more than two years, Fafin camp in northern rural Aleppo has been home for hundreds of displaced families who fled escalating violence in Afrin district, northwest of Aleppo governorate.
Inside three fabric tents in the camp are the stories of Fatima, Hevin and Nerouz. These three women- two mothers and a grandmother- like many across Syria, refused to be shaken by years of conflict and displacement. Instead, each of them has been the rock her family needed to lean on.
Despite living in dire conditions at the camp, including lack of access to water and sanitation hygiene (WASH) facilities compounding their vulnerability, the three women would wake up every morning determined to care for their loved ones and provide their needs.
“I carry heavy jerrycans of water into the tent to bathe my four children and keep the tent clean,”
“I carry heavy jerrycans of water into the tent to bathe my four children and keep the tent clean,” says, Fatima, 45, who was displaced from Afrin almost three years ago. Fatima has endured her arthritis pains while fetching water for her family at least four times a day ever since they first arrived at the camp. “Making sure my children continue to go to school is my utmost priority. I am responsible for their future,” she adds.
“After we were displaced, I was left with nothing,”
Hevin, 31, who was displaced with her family from Afrin more than two years ago, shares a similar experience. “After we were displaced, I was left with nothing,” she says. “I only had my family to care for under the most basic living conditions.” Hevin has to walk for at least 30 minutes every day to fetch water for her 11-year-old son living with an intellectual disability and her elderly parents.
“Never before did I appreciate the blessing of having clean water; not until we were forced to flee home and it became a luxury,”
“Never before did I appreciate the blessing of having clean water; not until we were forced to flee home and it became a luxury,” says Nerouz, 50, who fled Jindiris in Afrin, northwest of Aleppo, two years ago. She sought shelter with her daughter’s family in Fafin camp. When they first arrived, they did not have access to proper water and sanitation facilities. To support her family and provide their need for water, Nerouz carries heavy jerrycans of water several times a day, while also helping her daughter care for her children Janat, 2, and Qazekli, 3.
To support families and children in Fafin camp, UNICEF has provided essential water, sanitation and hygiene services, improving tough living conditions and easing the harsh impact of protracted conflict and displacement on children and their families.
Thanks to generous contributions from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Syria Humanitarian Fund (SHF), since 2018, UNICEF has been reaching 3,400 internally displaced people, over 700 of them children, with safe water provision through the daily trucking of 420,000 liters of water and cleaning of water tanks. UNICEF has also provided showers, toilets - including those for persons with disabilities, septic tanks, washing machines, solar systems for heating and lighting, as well as the maintenance of water and sanitation facilities and dislodging of sewage water.