Aliaa Hamed, Journalist
Rawaa, a Syrian refugee in El Bekaa, Lebanon
By Aliaa Hamed, Journalist, Sherouk Newspaper, Egypt
When I met 10 years old Rawaa in one of the Syrian refugee settlements in El Bekaa in Lebanon, her shy smile struck me as she started talking to me about her life there. Rawaa described her new life in El Bekaa, her new informal school she was attending in a tent and the few swings children have to share beside the school.
During the time I spent with Rawaa and other children in El Bekaa, I was preoccupied thinking about the elusive future of the Syrian children in Lebanon and neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees. I was thinking about those children who have been deprived of their simple and basic rights in formal education, privacy and a healthy place to live in and most of all a sense of stability in their own country.
I gave up my pen and paper which I had been using to insert my notes during a media trip organized by UNHCR Egypt to other hosting countries and preferred to speak with the children freely, laughing and taking photos as memories. Before I left El Bekaa, I hugged Rawaa tightly and even thought of taking her with me so I could protect her from the unknown that she will be facing. I cursed all the reasons which led her to being a refugee along with other children who are enduring the same harsh life.
Translation from Arabic by Marwa Hashem/2014.