Nawal and Sahar: 2 Sisters and their Refugee Journeys
By GPPD Team | Archive Post, 2017 | Return to Blog
Note: This post is from our archive. A 2021 update to this story can be found here.
Nawal* and Sahar* are sisters from Homs, Syria. While both were pregnant with their first children, they had to flee because of a 4-year siege of their home city. They arrived in Jordan with their husbands and their parents. Soon after their arrival both Nawal and Sahar gave birth to their first children, two boys. Recently Sahar had her second child, a beautiful little girl. Their husbands have done everything in their power to provide for the families. They have sold light bulbs on the street, helped install satellite dishes and many other jobs. Sometimes they worked for over a month and the employer did not pay them. They could do nothing about it because refugees have no legal rights for employment.
In 2016, Nawal and Sahar’s parents immigrated to Chicago. They were so excited that their mom and dad could start a new life in America, but greatly saddened to see their familiy unit torn apart. In Syria their families had all lived near one another. In early September, Nawal received a call from the United Nations telling her that she, her husband and 4-year-old son were eligible to move to Scotland. While this was wonderful news, it was so difficult for her to say “yes” because it meant leaving Sahar behind. Sahar is the only one left in her family. While Sahar was so happy for her sister, there was also great sadness. Would she ever see her sister again? Her son, who has epilepsy, had always been best friends with his cousin. Would they ever see each other again?
On Wednesday night, January 17, both families crammed into a van filled with six large pieces of luggage to go the airport in Amman, Jordan. The ride to the airport was quite silent. When it was time to say goodbye Sahar would not let go of Nawal. She couldn’t bear the thought of her sister leaving her, not knowing what the future would hold. There were tears of joy, but also tears of sadness. Nawal begged our Global Partners staff not to forget Sahar. Her last words to our staff was, “please help the refugees. Our lives are too difficult. Please help them just like you have helped me”.
Today Nawal and her family are in Scotland starting a new season of life. Sahar, her husband and two children are sitting in a cold apartment wondering what their future holds. Will they ever receive a call from the UN? If so, will they go to the UK or US to be near family or will another country accept them?
This story could be told thousands of times over for refugees all over the world. We are so thankful that for the past 15 years Global Partners has been in Jordan living life with refugees like Nawal and Sahar.
*Names changed for protection.