Syria’s crisis has brought intolerable burdens, woes and calamities to the lives of most Syrians, half of whom have found themselves in places they had never imagined they could stay at.
The government in Syria has opened centers to host the Internally Displaced People, or IDPs. Such centers are either schools, or summer children camps.
In each city in Syria under the government control, there are displaced families, who try to cope with their situations in one of the displacement shelters.
In the town of Hirjalleh in the countryside of the capital Damascus, Abu Ahmad, a man in his 50s from the rebel-held town of Ataibeh, east of Damascus, sat at the doorstep of his room in the Hirjalleh camp, watching his wife preparing the Ramadan breakfast.
Having to fast from dawn to dusk, without smoking, or drinking a cup of tea, Abu Ahmad spent the first day of Ramdan remembering how he and his family used to observe this month, the most important one in the Islamic calendar.
SOUNDBITE(ARABIC): ABU MUHAMMAD, Displaced man
“We are observing Ramadan this year, but unlike pre-war times, the atmospheres have largely changed, as we used to stay up late with family members and friends, we used to enjoy the company and gathering of one another. Now, that situation has changed, as our relatives and friends are in different locations, pushed away by the war.”
His wife, Sawsan, spent the first day thinking what else she can cook to her children, aside from the two free meals the camp provide for them.
SOUNDBITE(ARABIC): SAWSAN, Displaced woman
“We are spending Ramadan this year in this displacement camp in Hirjalleh, with people who have become like family members to us in addition to the officials who are in charge here, they made us feel welcome here. It’s been four years since we have been displaced, and we don’t feel like strangers here anymore. Even though we are far from home, we are trying to create similar atmospheres here, and we are trying our best to live our lives and be positive and hopeful in the future.”
Muslims around the world celebrate the holy month of Ramadan by praying during the night time and abstaining from eating and drinking during the period between sunrise and sunset.
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and it is believed that the Koran’s first verse was revealed during its last 10 nights.