An Explosion That Changed Everything

This International Women’s Day, we want to bring you the story of a Syrian refugee grandmother, Umm Ahmad. At 73 years old, she has 9 grandchildren and was living happily among them before the conflict started in Syria. The grandmother remembers happy times in her village outside of Idlib, where she grew up, went to school, and enjoyed family gatherings later in life.

“Not only were we self-sufficient, we used to
financially support other poor families.”

Umm Ahmad
Syrian Refugee Umm Ahmad tells the staff of Islamic Relief her story.

“We were happy in our village, and we were not in need of anything,” Umm Ahmad told us. “We were working as farmers. We were able to earn money and food for ourselves.  Not only were we self-sufficient, we used to financially support other poor families.”

“It took the crisis a few months to expand and reach the areas near our village.  One night, there was an explosion that was heard by all the residents. I can never forget that explosion.” That sound was the beginning of a new chapter in Umm Ahmad’s life. As the area was hit with rockets, barrel bombs and airstrikes, she and her family fled in the dark. They ran across a field and hid in a cave until the situation seemed to calm.

“When my son went to check the house and bring whatever he could, including water for the children – who were terrified – the rockets suddenly started to hit the village again. When my son was late [returning to us] we found out that he, the father of my five grandchildren, was killed in that airstrike… God is enough for us and He is the best disposer of affairs.”

A Grandmother’s Search for Safety 

With no food, drink or shelter, the Syrian grandmother who was now a refugee took her grandchildren and travelled to a nearby camp for displaced people. At the age of 73, she showed true resilience in the face of catastrophe, and is the saviour of her 5 grandchildren.

There are thousands more stories like Umm Ahmad in Syria. Stories of strong women who kept their families safe in whatever way they could. And they have praised Allah every step of the way.

In the first camp, there were so many people that humanitarian organizations were not able to meet their needs. They waited three days for a tent, before trying another camp – where they still did not receive shelter.

“We lost everything, including our livelihood,
and we were in need of a continuous aid.”

Umm Ahmed

Finally, they arrived at another camp where she was finally given a tent within two days. This was also the camp where she met Islamic Relief’s staff workers.

This is the story of many refugees, as they struggle to find shelter. With the current situation in Idlib, after a long-drawn out conflict many people are now being displaced for the 7th or 8th time. 

An Adopted Family through Islamic Relief

At the new camp, Umm Ahmad was put in touch with Islamic Relief. “Islamic Relief came and wrote down our urgent needs. The following day they brought a number of sheets, blankets and tent sealants as well as food parcels for us and for other large number of new arrivals of displaced people. Thanks to God, then to you for the essential items that you provide for us.”

“You have reminded me of their father’s role
who used to bring new clothes for them every year.
I consider Islamic Relief to be our family…”

Umm Ahmad

“Islamic Relief has provided carpets, tents, blankets and food parcels continuously.  They also provided the toilet units and lavatories. In addition, they put smiles on my grandchildren’s faces by distributing high-quality winter clothes, in exact sizes and according to the children’s choice.  This was the first help of its kind which made my son’s children forget their sadness and made them extremely happy.”

“You have reminded me of their father’s role who used to bring new clothes for them every year.  I consider Islamic Relief to be our family as it plays the role of the father for my grandchildren. You reminded us of the happy memories of the past. This alleviated our pains and sadness tremendously.”

You can continue to support people like Umm Ahmad and provide smiles for their children. Donate to the people of Syria now.