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'A New Life for Nour in Lebanon'

Nour was forced to flee the ongoing conflict in Syria at the age of just seven. Now aged twelve, Nour lives in Lebanon where - together with her new best friend - she has begun to process her traumatic experiences. This is her story.

Like thousands of other Syrian children, twelve-year-old Nour was forced to flee her home and seek sanctuary in neighbouring Lebanon. Nour has lived in Lebanon for the past five years. She still vividly remembers her life in Syria - including the bombings and the constant noise of overhead planes roaring over her family’s home.

The violence in Syria escalated until Nour and her family couldn’t take it anymore. They packed the few clothes and belongings that were to hand and left for Lebanon, where Nour’s father worked as a salesman. The children stopped at their grandmother’s house to say goodbye. “My grandma made me dessert,” Nour recalls.

“I cried with every last spoonful I ate because my grandma had made it for me - and I had no idea when, or if, I would ever see her again.”

Nour had to leave her grandmother and extended family behind. The experience was a painful one. “I refused to see my friends because I despise saying goodbye,” Nour remembers. “Saying goodbye to my grandma and extended family was more than enough for one day.”

© Hussein Baydoun

Building up strength

Nour struggled with her feelings upon arriving in Lebanon. She was pleased to be reunited with her father but also sad at having left her loved ones behind. She also felt a long way from home.

Eventually Nour’s life began to improve once she began attending her local Social Development Centre (SDC) as part of War Child’s ‘Strengthening Protection and Resilience’ project. The SDC is where War Child provides psychosocial support for children like Nour who have experienced the horrors of armed conflict. War Child also holds awareness-raising sessions to help prevent abuse, violence and exploitation.

Nour met her new best friend Raghad at the centre. Her friendship with Raghad makes her feel like a normal twelve-year-old again - and the two of them are inseparable. “Raghad is more like a sister than a friend,” according to Nour.

The SDC has also helped Nour process her painful memories. “At the SDC, they help us to become stronger, teach us to speak out and inform us about our rights,” Nour explains. “We also get to play together, paint together and learn together. More importantly, we get to meet friends like Raghad at the SDC”.