No Longer Afraid

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Yaser’s Five Children Have Known Nothing But Fear And Violence in Syria. Now, They Are Looking For a Better Life in Germany

For two long years Yaser’s* five children, Ali*, 15, Achmed*, 14, Hala*, 10, Sedra*, 7 and Aya*, 3, have not been able to go to school or play outside. Violence kept them from living a normal life. There was constant fear of sniper and missile attacks. They learned what type of weapon was being used just by the sound it made.

“Being scared was a permanent state of mind. I was always scared,” said Achmed. “When I went to bed, I always wondered if I would wake up the next morning.”

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Eventually the violence became too much for Yaser and his wife, and they made the decision to uproot their family from their home in Syria in search of a better life in Germany. They were only able to make their long and difficult journey from sunset to sunrise so they would not be spotted. Young Hala lost her glasses during their trek.

“Everything is already strange, but now it is also blurry,” she said. “It is very scary not to be able to see clearly.”

They walked for days until they reached the boat that would carry them to Germany. The water was rough and the children were scared, but the family eventually made it. Now they must wait to register for asylum, a process that takes up to two weeks. During those two weeks the family must wait outside the registration center every day for their number to be called. There are no facilities or shelter from the rain.

“I am tired of waiting here all day. We just stand in the rain,” said Achmed. “But I will tell you something: after everything we have been through, a bit of rain can’t hurt me anymore.”

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