Every Challenge is an Opportunity

“Throughout the journey, I was holding my children in my arms. My little kid fell to the floor and lost her consciousness, I felt terrible, and I chose not to try anymore because I would lose my kids on the road, not in the war” Fatma said, a Syrian refugee who lives with her two daughters in Şanlıurfa and is waiting to be reunited with her husband on a family reunification visa in the Netherlands. Her daughters don't even remember their father, because when they fell apart, they were too young. 

Fatma was living in Syria during the civil war. She was internally displaced many times. She was forced to leave her town. “I was living in my parents’ home with my kids and when the conflict escalated in near villages while hearing bombs, we were leaving our house. It was challenging to leave your home and trying to find food, water, a safe place to sleep" she explained. 

She says that in those tough moments, she was only worried about her children, because if anything happens to her the children are in danger, far away from their father. She had to concentrate on positive things; she wasn't worrying too much about war and problems, only concentrating on the future of her children. Their life, she claims, keeps her alive.

It was a very difficult and risky process for her and her children when Fatma arrived in Turkey 2 months ago. She tried to go to Turkey several times, but she couldn’t manage it. She says she gave up the last time she tried because the route was too dangerous, the possibility of being murdered or abducted by human traffickers was present. Fatma says, "I was not afraid of myself; all my worries were about my kids."

It wasn’t easy to tackle legal proceedings in Syria for resettlement, so she wanted to try to go to Turkey one more time. "Institutions and aid organizations do a lot for us in Turkey," she says. She managed to arrive in Turkey safely, after that, she says, "It is too difficult to explain with words what I felt, I was so happy with my children, the fear was just gone."

IOM Turkey reached Fatma when she arrived in Turkey for the family reunion process. Fatma says IOM assistance has been so important because as a refugee, it is really challenging when dealing with legal processes. Now she is only waiting for the procedure to be completed due to COVID-19 pandemic limitations. While talking about her future plans, she says, "Because of war, I dropped school but now I want to continue in the Netherlands and want a profession. Also, I am hoping my children will have a good life." She hopes to live with her family where life will be safer. She suggests to those in her situation to never lose their hopes and says at the end of every challenge there is ease.