Far from home: battling winter in Jordan 

“I’m just very thankful that it’s safe here. My children are safe, so we’re okay.” 

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© UNHCR / Jordi Matas

When Nisreen found out young men were being randomly detained in 2014, she and her four children left Syria as soon as they could.  

“I have a lot of brothers who could have been taken so we escaped Syria to come to Jordan to seek safety. I have a brother who arrived before I did and he’s the one who advised us to come to Jordan, from Syria. My in-laws are here, too. Everybody’s here,” Nisreen explains. 

Nisreen recalls the journey from Syria to Jordan being an extremely difficult one: pushing her and her young children to their limits. She remembers, “We left home when my son was just three years old, I had to carry him on my back when we were fleeing. We didn’t have enough food and we didn’t have enough water. It was night-time when we crossed into Jordan and pitch black. We were afraid to make any noise on the Syrian-side because they were randomly shooting at people crossing into Jordan.” 

At night, it sometimes gets so cold that it feels that the shelter itself is shaking. Without the gas heater, you’d probably see ice. 

Nisreen continues, “When we reached the berm (no-man’s land between Jordan and Syria) we stayed there for around seventy days before being allowed entry into Jordan. There was still very little food and water there.   

When Nisreen was home in Syria before the war, she remembers winter days were just like any other winter day in any other part of the world. In fact, she really enjoyed winter in Syria. Nisreen remembers, It was cosy, we were surrounded by family. We were safe. To me that’s what warmth means.    

Now, her winters in Jordan are very differentDespite always loving the winter season, Nisreen feels it’s different now.  

At night, it sometimes gets so cold that it feels that the shelter itself is shaking. Without the gas heater, you’d probably see ice. 

Last winter, UNHCR gave Nisreen and her children a gas cylinder, heater and blankets. While Nisreen works whenever she can, sewing clothes and taking up volunteer positions on a rotational basis so that other women have the opportunity to earn, she wouldn’t have enough money to support her children and keep them warm. Nisreen states, “If I hadn’t received these things I would never have been able to afford to buy them. 

But I’m just grateful.  All the hardship doesn’t matter. I’m just very thankful that it’s safe here. My children are safe so we’re okay.” 

When asked about the hopes and dreams Nisreen has for her four children, she mentions, “To receive a good education and for my children Alaa and Hussein to get treatment for their eyes. They were both born with sight problems. They’re okay but they’re going to have to have surgery at some point but I’m not sure that I can get that in Jordan. 

For Nisreen, it’s all about the health of her children, “All I hope for is help for my children’s vision.  And for them to be safe. That’s it. “ 

To learn more about this year’s Winter emergency and how you can donate, visit our website. 

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