A Journey from Displacement till Return“I was thrilled when I was accepted to join the DRC family - the organization that supported me to recover, and gave me a space to flourish and engage in the support of people who were displaced as I was,” says Fatena, an internally displaced Syrian woman who returned to her home town in Homs governorate in 2014 to become a DRC staff member. Fatena is now meeting war-affected people in a DRC Community Centre and highly committed to provide support. This is the story of Fatena’s amazing journey from 2011 till now.
“I was surprised by what I have been able to accomplish. I used to be a very spoiled lady, sleeping till noon, renting someone else services to do house work and prepare lunch meals from time to time”. With those words, the 30-year-old woman, explained the huge change she had since the unfolding of crisis in Syria in 2011.
Fatena is a mother of three children, who fled Homs, along with many of her relatives, due to the intensified clashes and the deterioration of humanitarian conditions, and sought safety in Rural Damascus. There, she and her family moved from place to place before settling down in Dumar Al-Bald area, one of the poorest towns of Rural Damascus.
Fatena recalled the first night in her displacement journey: “In the first day of our arrival to Damascus, I couldn’t sleep at all, I lay on the carpet feeling cold like never before”.
The first weeks were truly difficult for this Syrian family, feeling lost, hopeless, and helpless. Their savings didn’t last for more than two month. After long suffering, and with the help from a small charitable organization in Dumar Al-Balad area, they were able to settle down in a house. With a massive and increasing influx of displaced people to the area, Fatena found herself driven to work and help others. She started with the reception of newcomers - helped them to settle down and provided them with basic supplies to survive during the first weeks, by the support of well-off people.
Fatena was shocked by seeing many of her former neighbors in the streets begging. She bought two old secondhand sewing machines for less than 40 $, and gathered a group of woman in her house. Many of the women were alone single-handedly holding their families together but still with the urge to make a difference. Together they started a small project to fabricate blankets and pillows, based on Fatenas previous experience in sewing, and distributed them to the people in need.
“It seems like a drop in the ocean, but it meant so much to those families who have had their lives torn apart by conflict. In my opinion, it helps me to find hope and reason amidst this chaos,” says Fatena.
In December 2013, she witnessed another milestone in her Journey. She was supported by DRC to develop the blankets and pillows project, and produce new products. Later on she was granted a new sewing machine to expand her work and became self-sufficient. During this period, she showed a great ability to define people’s needs and link them accordingly with DRC services in a range of fields.
In March 2014, with the relative stability of situation in Homs, DRC announced the need for a field worker there. Due to Fatena’s determination and experience in defining people’s needs, and supporting others, she was accepted for this job, and moved back to Homs with her family.
This story is a reminder for all of us on strength and enthusiasm of those who are most affected by the crisis to support each other and to create projects even out of the worst possibilities.