We've heard what political leaders, media outlets and social media users have to say about the refugee crisis. It's time we let Syrian refugees tell their own stories. Here is what 5 Syrian refugees shared about the reality of the crisis:
1. "My life is on pause"
Now living in Amman, Jordan, this woman told Humans of New York (HONY) how paralyzing the situation is. Prior to the crisis, she won a scholarship to pursue a master's degree at a German university. She finished at the top of her class in both high school and university.
Because I’m a refugee, my life is on pause. My studies have stopped. I'm not working. I don't have a career. Because I'm Syrian, I'm not allowed to participate in society. It's been years of doing nothing. I used to be a cheerful person. I was always invited to parties. Now I like to be alone.
2. "You just scream, and you just hate"
Sarah, who lives in Germany, gave the low-down on what Islamophobia is all about, having experienced it first-hand, courtesy of a bystander who called her a terrorist and aggressively scolded her for wearing the hijab.
They don’t know your culture. And if you don’t know something, you see (it as something) strange. And something strange makes you fear. You don’t know what this is, so you don’t want to know what this is, so you just scream and just hate.
3. "We survived but we're dead psychologically"
Before fleeing to Turkey, a missile hit this family's house and killed their mother and one daughter/sister.
We survived but we’re dead psychologically. Everything ended for us that day. That was our destiny. That was our share in life.
4. "It is not a choice to flee from your home"
At the recent Leader Summit for Refugees, Refugee Olympic Team member Yusra Mardini announced her commitment to changing people's perspectives about refugees.
Refugees are normal people who can achieve great things if given the opportunity.
When she introduced the Refugee Olympic Team.
I want everyone to think refugees are normal people who had their homelands and lost them not because they wanted to run away and be refugees, but because they have dreams in their lives and they had to go.
5. "The word ‘family’ is a painful word for me now"
The war scattered my children all over the world. They are in Syria, Lebanon, Germany, and Jordan.
This woman, who was interviewed by HONY, was living in Jordan before being selected for American resettlement.
I had to leave the home that I’d spent thirty years building. One day I just had to close the doors, turn the key, and leave everything behind. I’m seventy-two. No one wants to leave home at my age.