A mother of two, forced into exile


exile – Syrian – refugees – mother and child – Greece

LAVRION CAMP, Greece — Jihan is one of millions who have fled the violence in Syria. A mother of two, forced into exile. Like many, she escaped with her husband and children to Turkey, where they boarded a boat and risked everything during a treacherous journey to safety. Unlike most, she is blind.

At sea, the cries of her fellow passengers, the turbulent waves and the tightening clasp of her sons’ hands told her all she needed to know. They had hoped to find land in eight hours. After nearly two nights, 34-year-old Jihan feared the worst.

“In those moments,” she remembers, sadly, “I felt that I had taken my kids from one looming possibility of death to another.”

Hungry, thirsty and afraid for their lives, the family finally reached the shores of Europe after a perilous 45 hours at sea. But they were far from their chartered route – stranded on the Greek island of Milos. Without support or assistance, they had to find their own way to Athens. “We had our kids with us and no food or water,” says Jihan, whose husband Ashraf is also partially blind. “So we had no choice but to travel through the mountains.”

In Athens, the police detained them for four days. “They told us we could not stay in Athens or three other Greek cities,” she recalls, wiping away a tear from the corner of her eye. By now exhausted and destitute, Ashraf set out ahead in search of asylum further north, while Jihan and the children headed to Lavrion camp, an informal settlement about 40 kilometres outside the Greek capital.

Full story on: http://tracks.unhcr.org