Refugee, abuse victim, Palestinian: Aesha’s story

08 March 2013

8 March
Beirut, Lebanon

Aesha rises every day early in the morning and works until midnight, motivated by her belief in the right of every human being to live in dignity. Since getting married as a young woman, Aesha has had what many would think of as a difficult life. A former victim of domestic abuse, her broad smile belies the hardship she has endured in the past.

Like many young Palestine refugees in Lebanon, this hard-working mother of six dropped out of school early, before learning to read and write. In later years, Aesha insisted on investing in the education her children, believing strongly in education and the opportunities it creates, despite strong objections from her husband.

A brave decision

It was her belief in education and opportunity that led the then-unemployed Aesha to take a brave decision at the age of 34: enrolment in the same nursing class as her teenage son. A year later, a proud Aesha won her diploma, and was offered a job soon after at Al Makassed Hospital, Beirut.

It was difficult to convince her husband to accept the idea of her studying and working, Aesha says, but she was determined to be in a position to make financial decisions and provide for her family. Still today, Aesha works the exhausting evening shifts in order to spend time with her family during the day.

Since working at the hospital, Aesha says, she has been able to secure better life conditions for her children; no small feat in Lebanon, where opportunities for Palestinians are sorely limited. Aesha’s eldest son has majored in graphic design, while her second son is now a nurse, and her daughter is “such a talented hairdresser”, she says, beaming.

Aesha is optimistic about the future, she says. She adds that her children are all the motivation she needs to work hard for a better future.

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