It doesn’t take much imagination to see that Mohammed’s home used to be beautiful. The remains of highly detailed crown moldings and fluted columns that once framed doorways leading to protected balconies—they are not the markings of a basic home.
Mohammed used to work as a contractor. He poured his love, skills, talent, and savings into making a comfortable home for his wife and four children.
Like so many others, Mohammed lost his home to war. The structure of his home remains sound. There was certainly damage made by the violence. But the larger problem is what was stolen after they fled—doors and windows taken from their openings, wiring ripped from the walls, and faucets and light fixtures stripped from every room.
Mohammed is so grateful that his family is safe now, and survived the war. But as a craftsman, husband, and father, it’s heartbreaking for Mohammed to see the work of his hands–the tangible signs of his devotion to his family–left in ruin.
Mohammed still owns this flat. But in the condition it’s in, they can’t live there. Instead, he rents somewhere else for his family to live. The cost of rent takes nearly his entire salary—there is just a little left over to buy food. There is certainly not enough money left at the end of the month to fix up their flat.
It’s created a cycle of poverty that is maddening for Mohammed, and for us.
This is where you are entering Mohammed’s story.
When we approach Syrians like Mohammed, who are desperate to return home but just don’t have the resources to do it, the needs they list are actually quite basic:
- a secure home
- running water
- a functional bathroom
- a kitchen for cooking
- basic power
The families we talk to aren’t looking for “reality television” style home renovations. They’re looking for basic repairs that get them back into their homes, allows them to stop hemorrhaging money on rent, and gives them a chance to breathe and plan for their future. Once they get back to having stability, there will be time later for them to renovate their homes to suit their family’s needs.
So what does it take to get Syrian families like Mohammed’s back into their homes?
- removing debris and repairing holes
- windows and doors to make the home secure and keep out the weather
- electrical wiring, outlets, and light fixtures
- faucets and toilets
- a basic kitchen
This is all Mohammed’s family needs to be able to move home, and start to rebuild their lives.
This is all Mohammed’s family, and so many others, need to break the cycle of poverty created by the realities of war.
This is what you can do to help Syrian families move back home. You can provide doors that shut out the winter cold, and windows that let in the warmth of the sun. You can provide the light fixtures and switches that turn on when it gets dark in the evening. You can provide a bathroom tap where children wash their hands before supper, a kitchen sink for washing vegetables and breakfast dishes.
Relatively small renovation projects can have a massive impact in the lives of families just like yours—longing for the security of home.