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Meet Sara from Syria

Meet Sara from Syria
ALEXANDER WHITTLE, PHOTOGRAPHER

“Before the war started, nothing worried me. Everything was ok.”

Sara grew up safe and secure with her family in Syria. Her home was “so big and beautiful, you could remove the moon and put the house in its place.” She spent her childhood playing with her barbies, and playing hide and seek with her brothers and sisters. When her Dad returned from work they would all go swimming at her grandparent’s house, and then pick fruit from the orchard.

Sara says that her Dad was a, good looking man with a big heart, and she obviously adores him. “He used to love me the most" she says unabashedly.

“But then our home got bombed.”

As the fighting grew, homes were bombed, people kidnapped, and the air of her once quiet neighbourhood filled with the sounds of guns and conflict.

Armed men would enter houses and arrest people. They bombed our houses. It was horrible. It wasn’t a life there – it was nothing at all.” Sara comments softly. 

Sara was terrified that her family would never escape Syria. But the worst came when the violence finally reached her family. “My Dad got kidnapped. They shot him, and then they burned him.”

Her father died two years ago, and with him, Sara says, her birthdays died too; she hasn’t celebrated one since. From a beautiful marble house, now destroyed in the bombings, Sara and her family have ended up in one of the refugee camps outside Syria. 

When Sara’s family fled, she took just two things with her, her photo album and her watch, a gift from her Dad. The photos could be those of any child from New Zealand – smiling kids and birthday cakes, brothers and sisters acting out skits and posing with cuddly toys.

Watch Sara share her story:

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