Torn-apart by the War, a Displaced Woman Finds Relief

Between staying in Syria with her elderly parents or leaving to Germany to her husband and son, Nijat was left with a difficult choice.

Displacement is a journey of misery that only leaves dark memories, that is what Nijat was thinking after being displaced for about five years. Life in the crisis is a struggle but Nijat is coping with the daily challenges and never gave up hope. She is learning sewing skills and trying to find a job opportunity. But she is going through a dilemma, and feels torn apart, whether to stay in Syria and take care of her elderly parents, or leave to Germany to reunite with her husband and her younger son as a refugee.

Nijat Salameh, 41 years old, a mother of three, two young girls and one boy. The displaced woman lived for years in Yarmouk camp for Palestinians, a suburb just south of Damascus until late December 2012, when the armed conflict forced Nijat and at least 140,000 people to flee their homes in Yarmouk.

“We were very happy, rapidly everything changed.”

Nijat describes life in Yarmouk camp before the war, as amazing, she says: “We were very happy, rapidly everything changed.”

When Nijat moved from Yarmouk camp, directly she moved to Sehnaya, in western Ghouta, which was the best choice at the time, she went to live with her sister who used to live there.

To provide a source of income for the family, Nijat’s son joint a vocational training course at a community centre supported by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, where he learnt Air Conditioning maintenance. After a while, her son rented a small shop in Sehnaya to provide Air Conditioning services within their neighbourhoud. According to Nijat, the income he got through this profession was enough for a house rent and food.

While the family was struggling to survive, the war was raging and clashes were going on in many places around Sehnaya. One day, Nijat’s son was injured on his way home. “These were the hardest times we’d ever experienced” She said “When my son’s health improved, he and my husband decided to flee to Germany”,

Nijat had to overcome the daily difficulties at that time, so she joined a community centre run by GOPA in Sehnaya. Now she attends the training courses at the centre with her youngest daughter, and takes parts in activities like handicrafts, and has finished many handmade pieces.


With the skills she has learnt at the centre, selling her handicrafts is providing her with a small source of income.

“I hope to learn this profession very well, so I can present my hand-made work in an exhibition. I’m looking forward to see the results of my work, I am really very excited!”.

For the family, she feels confused, that she is torn apart between staying with her parents or leaving the country to join her husband and son. In the end, she does not want to leave her father and mother alone, she thinks she is everything for them, especially after they lost her brother during the war.

“I’m looking forward to see the results of my work, I am really very excited”

“I hope my husband and my son come back again”, “I do not want to leave the country, I have to stay with my parents, they are too old and I can’t leave them”, she describes.

For now, Nijat continues to participate in various trainings at the Community Centre in Sehnaya and she feels satisfied with what she has learnt so far.

This UNHCR supported community centre, run by local partners, offers vocational and life skills training in many areas such as hairdressing, sewing, cooking, carpentry, machine maintenance and literacy classes. These training courses equip displaced people like Nijat with the required skills to improve their livelihoods in order to cope with the consequences of the crisis and strengthen their resilience.