Shatila Refugee Camp – From the Eyes of Syrian Palestinian Kids

February 27, 2013 by

VIDEO: As if being born a Palestinian refugee weren’t difficult enough, these three cousins are now double refugees since they fled the war in Syria for Lebanon.

2famous.TV caught up with them to get an update on their living conditions in Shatila and realized how difficult the concept of ‘home’ is to each of them.

Maya with here family in Shatila Refuge camp, Lebanon, Beirut.

Palestine-Syria-Lebanon: Maya (10) is Already a Double Refugee

January 29, 2013 by

Only 10 years old, Maya is already a refugee for the second time. Like thousands of Palestinians she and her family have fled the civil war in Syria and taken refuge in Lebanon. Here, they now live in poor and cramped conditions in the already overcrowded Palestinian refugee camps.

Maya lives in Shatila, one of the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, where Palestinians have taken shelter for over 60 years while waiting to return to their country. The area was supposed to house a few hundred refugees when it was built in 1948. Now it houses more than 20,000 people in the same space. The streets are narrow it is immediately obvious these buildings were only supposed to reach one or two stories, now standing five or more tall. We are on our way to see how Maya and her family live in their new home in the refugee camp.

Palestinian refugees from Syria, living in Shatila, Lebanon.

Palestinian refugees from Syria, living in Shatila, Lebanon.

“Our house in Syria had more rooms with a salon and two bedrooms. It was much nicer,” Maya tells us, while guiding us through the camp. The apartment is located at the end of a long, dark, narrow labyrinth full of dust, screaming babies, wet puddles of garbage and tons and tons of hanging electric wires. We arrive to find that tap water is scarce and one dim light bulb illuminates their room.

“Here they cut off our electricity and the water from the tap is salty,” Maya explains, while showing us the two-room home she shares with her mother, her sister, her brother and her brother’s two wives.

In January, the UN reported on the horrible and cramped conditions Palestinian refugees from Syria face, now that they are living in Shatila. Although Maya’s family is one of “the lucky ones” who can afford to rent an apartment, the living conditions are not very good and living expenses are much higher than they were in Syria.

Marwa, a Palestinian refugee now living in Lebanon

Marwa, a Palestinian refugee now living in Lebanon

Maya introduces us to her older cousin Marwa, 13, who is also refugee for the second time. “We used to be Palestinian refugees in Syria and now we are Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. I want to go back to my homeland, I want to go back to Palestine.”

Younger Maya feels differently. Quietly, she pulled us aside and revealed that although her family and the rest of her people yearn to return to Palestine, she has simply never seen it, and would just like to return to her home in Syria.

“I’ve never been to Palestine and even though we all want to go back to Palestine, I’ve never seen it…I’d rather go back to Syria.”

 

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