With admiring eyes, UNHCR Chief Filippo Grandi listened to Farida’s story of suffering and determination. She, as accustomed in Syrian hospitality, offered Mr.Grandi and his companions a warm cup of tea as she shared her story.

Farida Darwish, 55 years old, had to flee her house in Al Tadamon district because of the clashes and now she’s living in the Um Attiah Al Ansaria Shelter in Damascus. And after her two sons went missing, she found herself the sole supporter to her seven grandchildren.

Yet Farida wasn’t alone, with the help of UNHCR’s partner Al Nada charity, she enrolled the children back to school where they caught up with their classmates, and she herself attended vocational training and psycho-social support training workshops supported by UNHCR.

Farida proudly shared her granddaughter Aya’s school papers where she scored 90% in her final exam. “Despite every hardship, I feel grateful now that we are together and safe”, Farida said.

The shelter that used to be a school is now hosting 73 families, 53% of its residents are children.

Mr. Grandi expressed his deep concerns for over 6.6 million people internally displaced suffering similar circumstances inside Syria. “In these hard times, it’s truly inspiring to witness such resilience and courage, but an end to the five-year-old crisis is called for to end the suffering endured by millions of people.”


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