Fouad: Living with unfair choices

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Six years of conflict in Syria: Save the Children series


It is a narrow passage. As one walks, one has to avoid the hanging wires and watch out for water pouring down from the tops of the buildings.

Fouad* opens the door himself. He offers a seat and exchanges cheerful greetings, all while quickly moving around the room.

At the age of six, Fouad is still learning recognisable words. He says he goes to school where ‘’They feed us’’.

He points his forefingers at his head and asks if he can get a new haircut. Seconds later, he takes a pen and paper to draw his grandfather.

Fouad doesn’t know where his mom is (she died in the Syrian conflict when he was only nine months). Growing up among a mentally vulnerable father, a mute grandfather and a sick grandmother, Fouad had no-one around to talk to. His family are now happy he can say his name now.

Fouad’s parents couldn’t have him registered because of the war. When he arrived in Lebanon, it wasn’t easy for him to go to school.

‘’Someone suggested we send him to an orphanage,’’ Fouad’s aunt Salwa* explains.

‘’And this is when we asked Save the Children to help [keep him with us]. They enrolled him in nursery and covered all costs. They also got him his first toy.

‘’The boy has changed significantly. He knows his friends now. He chats to us. He can say his name, unlike before.’’

Fouad’s father, Kamal*, arrives. He has just finished his day at work, selling tissues around the town. He joins in his son to play with the toys.

The number of undocumented Syrian children in Lebanon is huge. In spite of efforts to support their education and access to basic services, they are still faced with serious challenges.

The family are worried that Fouad might have to move on eventually. But they hope that he will be strong enough to deal with those challenges.


Watch Fouad's story here: 

*Names have been changed for protection purposes.