Age of New Hopes

“There was only a black smoke rising behind us while we were escaping; it was destroying and swallowing everything,” said Esma. She is 32-year-old Syrian migrant women, she had a comfortable life in Syria, they lived in their own houses and mainly worked in agriculture, they were farmers. She's sentimental and saddened when she's thinking about the journey because it was quite challenging.  

They arrived in Turkey in 2014 by walking while carrying their four children. Between 2011 and 2014, Esma witnessed the conflict in Syria. She was staying with her family in Halep. Today, they live in Şanlıurfa, Hilvan, which is safe and peaceful. She takes care of her seven children, an elderly mother, and a father with her husband. 

"We've put everything we've got behind us and faced every aspect of uncertainty," she said. They lived in a variety of cities in Turkey, and they wanted to support their lives and make money to work. It's important to have a home where you can sleep peacefully and securely with your children at night. Because we couldn't live a settled life, I longed for a safe house. "Only the expertise I have had based on the agriculture sector, so after we immigrate here, we've changed places according to the season of agriculture." We weren't able to make a sustainable income for ourselves in the early years here. In the end, we went back to the Suruç camp; we stayed there for almost two years," she said. Tent life is not simple, but they felt more resilient and recovered after their stay in the camp, so they applied for resettlement in the hopes of a more stable life. Since the resettlement process takes time, they moved from camp and did arrive in Hilvan, where they now reside. 

When they arrive in Hilvan, they face challenges to find a house and pay for it. “The owner of our house is not expecting money from us, he gave us this opportunity. Also, the host community in here supporting and helping a lot,” said Esma. However, the structural problems were present in their house, especially in winter with a big family like them, is not easy to keep warm the house. And, since she has little kids, the electrical and infrastructure problems were putting them in risk. IOM shelter rehabilitation teams in collaboration with local authorities reach Esma and her family. The house is renovated, providing a safer and sustainable living space for them. “With the previous version of the house, we were having a lot of problems; my children were getting sick from the cold and lack of insulation; now I feel more comfortable and safer in every way,” she said. Esma's five children are of school age, and she is thankful that they are able to study at home, now. Prior to the renovation, studying at home was extremely difficult, particularly during the pandemic. She encourages her children to go to school and get a good education. She emphasizes the importance of having a profession. She wishes for a bright future for her children, one in which they can receive a decent education and pursue a career. 

Esma has a strong personality, saying, "I was knowing that even in the most challenging times, better days will arrive, and I will overcome difficulties. I became stronger as a result of this journey.”