Rasha and her family are refugees. They fled the fighting in Syria eight months ago and now live in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon close to the Syrian border.
Rasha says her family were lucky to get out of Syria alive. There was constant and heavy fighting in her town. Bullets were fired into their home. “One of them passed by my child’s head,” she says. The family were so scared that their home would be bombed, they slept under the trees outside it.
Keeping a roof over their heads
In an attempt to protect her family, Rasha convinced her husband and eldest son to move to another town in Syria to try to find work and she brought her two daughters and three youngest sons to Lebanon.
But like Amalia, Rasha and her family have survived the war only to face a whole new set of difficulties in Lebanon. For Rasha life as a refugee means a daily struggle to feed her family and keep a roof over their heads. “You would have cried if you’d seen us…I came here with nothing, we had no food… we didn’t bring anything, just the clothes we were wearing,” she says.
Seeing Rasha in such a hopeless situation, a Lebanese man cleared out an old storage room for the family to live in. They spent the bitterly cold winter months with no running water, kitchen or bathroom. “We’d put a bowl outside and wash in it, my daughter would hold a blanket up for me. People would bring us food.”
Struggling to make ends meet
Rasha’s landlord let them live in the storage room for free at first, but now he has started charging rent. The family is registered with UNHCR and receives fuel and food vouchers, but she says that they are spending double the amount they receive on food and cannot afford their rent.
Rasha and her family have been in Lebanon for eight months now and are still borrowing money from neighbours and selling the few mattresses and blankets they have to scrape together the money they need to pay their rent. “If we don’t find the money to pay the landlord we will have to move into a tent,” she explains.
Like many Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Rasha and her family are trying to rebuild their lives, but with no savings, few job opportunities and a cost of living which is far higher than they were used to in Syria. They are struggling to get by.
Syrian refugees in Lebanon urgently need support to meet their basic living costs including rent, food, water and electricity. ActionAid is establishing a programme to provide financial assistance to the most vulnerable refugees, but we need your support to do so.