“I Have to Be Strong for My Kids”

15 March 2017
Myasar Othman lives with her children in the Damascus Training Centre, along with 180 other Palestine refugee families displaced by the war. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Taghrid Mohammad

Myasar Othman carefully folds her children’s blankets in her room at the Damascus Training Centre, located on the hillside southwest of the city. The 40-year-old mother of three now lives in the UNRWA facility, which accommodates in its classrooms more than 180 Palestine refugee families displaced by the war. Standing behind the pile of folded blankets, Myasar has a tired look on her face. "Our lives have always been very difficult and full of continuous struggle,” she says. 

Myasar used to live in Yarmouk, in south Damascus. In 2012, the area was the scene of violent clashes, and most of the people who lived in Yarmouk were forced to leave. Myasar and her children were among the ones that fled the camp. When they left Yarmouk, her husband went missing. She has not seen him since then. Myasar explains that it is not easy to raise children without a husband: “I face a mountain of challenges each and every day. My family needs are beyond my ability to cope." 

While placing the pile of blankets in a small corner of her room, Myasar expresses her endless worries about her children. “My children are the most important thing to me, but life is difficult and I cannot provide for them the way a mother should – we barely survive here," she says with a sad tone in her voice. “Before the crisis, we could buy most of the things they needed without hesitation. But now, I can hardly make ends meet.” She adds,  “But I have to be strong for my kids.”

Despite the ongoing conflict, Myasar is determined to provide her children with a future, and she knows that the best way to offer them a fair chance is through education. "Despite the harrowing circumstances, school remains a top priority for my children – I believe it will help them achieve their potential,” she says with a positive tone.  

UNRWA launched the #DignityIsPriceless campaign in Gaza on 22 January 2018. © 2018 UNRWA Photo Rushdi Al Saraj
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