Rebuilding Lives Amidst Destruction

Badr happily holding in front of his house
Sunday, January 28, 2024

With February 2023 came the catastrophic Türkiye-Syria earthquake that shocked nations and caused unfathomable destruction.

Over 50,000 souls didn’t get the chance to see the light of another day and what 1.5 million once called home collapsed into ruins harbouring destruction and misery. In Syria, where the economic turmoil is at its worst and the currency is further crumbling each day, this disaster only heightened their turbulent sea of suffering.  

Eight-year-old Badr* is too young to experience such trauma, but his eyes could never unsee what he witnessed.

"When the houses started shaking and the walls were collapsing, I heard a little girl desperately screaming for help. Her voice still echoes in my head," recalls Badr.

Figure 1: Photo of a young Badr, captured by Takaful Al Sham

 Badr's family of six endured multiple displacements beginning in 2018 due to the conflict. Just when the family found a semblance of stability in a modest rent house in Afrin, Syria fell into the cruel grip of the earthquake only to lose everything, again. “We could barely afford this house, and now it lies there in ruins with all our belongings,” shared the heartbroken mother, Enas*.

From a warm home to a cold tent, that’s how their life has been transformed in the blink of an eye “All I could feel is coldness as rain poured down our heads and heartbreak as I recall what happened to our house,” says Badr.

Figure 2: Badr standing next to his old tent

But brutal weather conditions and lack of safety weren’t the sole distresses casting a shadow on Badr and his family; the psychological toll the earthquake exerted was indescribable.

“Badr suffered from profound psychological anguish and became frightened as he recalls what we experienced; it broke meMy son’s academic performance has significantly declined after the earthquake due to the continuous stress. Badr kept mourning his friend who passed away due to the earthquake, ՛I miss him a lot՛, he keeps telling me,” սhares Enas.

How could we ever recover from this? They asked themselves.

That’s when we stepped in to answer that question.

World Vision Syria Response’s Earthquake Response dedicated project emerged as a beacon of hope, offering survivors renewed opportunity to rebuild their lives

Granted US$ 1200 to repair their home, Badr and his family, in the midst of these repairs, received additional support from World Vision Syria Response; a more spacious and durable tent that shielded them from the relentless rain and biting cold until their house became inhabitable.

The family and 750 others were also provided two rounds of financial support through vouchers, each amounting to US$150. This enables them to secure essential items such as food and clothing during the economic downfall Syria’s witnessing. “My husband used to work on and off as a construction worker and when the earthquake hit, things only went downhill as the opportunities dwindled,” mentions Badr’s mother.

Thanks to the financial support they received, World Vision Syria Response staff witnessed the restoration of their smiles, infused with relief and enthusiasm as they were finally able to secure their essentials and move back to their home.

Figure 4: Badr and his siblings finally entering their renovated home

“After the house was renovated, I was ecstatic because we no longer need to stay out in the cold,” tells us Badr excitedly.

Badr's sense of security within the confines of his home significantly contributed to enhancing his mental well-being. “After the renovation, Badr’s stress significantly reduced and his grades started improving, my son started to become himself again,” says the proud mother. 

Through providing shelter, now Badr and 750 families have the chance to focus on their dreams and aspirations away from aftermath of the earthquake, “I dream about continuing my education and becoming a teacher and educating children!”

World Vision Syria Response and partner Takaful Al Sham are repairing damaged homes in earthquake struck Syria hand in hand, giving back to families the hope, solace and safety they thought they lost forever.

Figure 5: Badr happily holding his book

*Names are changed to protect identity.