Refugees in the Middle East: Learning to Laugh

While we were in the Middle East we had the pleasure of visiting several families from Syria. They have fled their homes trying to escape the bombs and fighting going on there. The first family we visited has 25 people in it. They all live in one house and by the smiles on their faces you would never know they were living in extreme poverty, having left everything behind in Syria. We talking with the father of the family and his mother. He also had several of his sisters present with their children as well. One of his sisters was carrying her precious 8 month old baby girl, and as we soon found out, she was actually pregnant with her when they made the long trek out of their country. Their stories of persistence will inspire even the weakest of hearts.     

As we visited the families we had the honor of having a beautiful young lady join us. (Pictured below) She is a Syrian refugee herself and is only 21 years old, but she has two children and her husband left her before leaving Syria. It was such a joy to watch her interact with others. She never stopped smiling and loving on the people she met that day.  

During our time in the Middle East we had the privilege of sitting down Syrian refugees and hearing their stories. A neighbor (and the first family we visited) introduced us to a man and his family. This man’s house was bombed during the war and as a result he became blind. He was able to flee with his wife and his 13-year-old son to a neighboring country, but his daughter and two eldest sons stayed behind. In addition to being blind he suffers from a heart condition that requires medication which is difficult to afford considering that the families sole source of income comes from their son who makes $7 per day. During our visit one of our GAiN staff members cracked a joke and everyone, including the man began to laugh. The laughter brought tears of joy to the wife as she explained “this is the first time that I have heard him laugh since we have been here.” We were able to connect the family to a local clinic to help with medications and also left them with winter jackets and food. But perhaps the greatest gift we were able to bring was laughter; a glimmer of hope shining light in a dark situation.

The last family we visited that day had been in contact with the staff for many months. It was great to see how receptive they were to all of us. The organization we partner with has actually helped the father of the family set up his own business for growing pickles. He has been able to make some income off of that to help provide for his family.


The next four photos are from the Princess Taghrid Institute. This is an organization set up to help young girls from the local community. It’s specifically designed for women who were abandoned or come from a broken home. At the institute they have the opportunity to learn skills like sewing, cooking and catering, business, and cosmotology. All of the classroom are equipped with the necessary tools and machines to teach the women. While we were there we were treated to some of the goodies the girls have been baking, and believe me they were amazing!