She was covering her cold body with a colored jacket when a reporter asks her … “What do you wish to have next year?’ and without much thought, Shahid jumps to answer “A tent. I wish to have a tent!”.
She was covering her cold body with a colored jacket that does not match her dark cold nights. And the only sweetness she knew was her name, “Shahid”, the sweet raw honey in Arabic. In the ten years of her life, she did not have anything but the bitterness of misery and the grief of homelessness… A little girl whose ceiling is the sky in refugee “camps” as she sleeps on the cold ground.
I wish to have a tent!
She traveled from one land to another with the little family she has left, looking for a safe place to spend the night in. A reporter looked at her with sadness in his eyes and thousand questions in his mind that he cannot bring himself to ask her.
He starts by asking her … “What do you wish to have next year?’ and without much thought, Shahid jumps to answer “A tent. I wish to have a tent!”.
An answer so innocent yet so devastating. A little girl who had lost the simple right of wishing for a toy or new clothes.
Refugees numbers are increasing by the year in the Middle East, and poverty statistics are striking still. The list of challenges faced by Arabs is endless, the educational sector is struggling and the health sector is facing a crisis after the pandemic where countless patients died in hospitals due to the lack of oxygen and needed equipment to fight the fierce virus.
All the while, the little girl only dreams of a tent that could protect her from the heat of the summer and the rough cold of the winter. A tent where she can sleep feeling safe with her family and maybe live what is left of her childhood and draw and color on paper using the pencils the United Nations had given her.
All that she dreams of is a tent that she can protect her whether she was in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, or Libya… wherever she might be. Many refugee children are like Shahid, dreaming of a simple tent to protect them, sleeping on the cold ground under the night sky … Is it not the time to end these tragedies?
Alhamdulilah, I was blessed with the opportunity to do photography for and work alongside One Ummah Charity, delivering Winter Aid to Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The experience was truly eye-opening, and here’s my little clip of the priceless smiles and laughs of the children pic.twitter.com/Gj2zWvMUfs
— Faizaan (@faiz_ia00) January 1, 2022