Syrian refugee girl, Rahaff, 5, wearing purple sweater, is happy to be in a safe place. In an informal tented settlement in Bakaa, Lebanon.

Mom – Khadija
Daughter – Rahaff, 5
Son – Ahmed, 2 (not in photos)

Khadija and her two children escaped from Syria to Lebanon five months ago. They came from a region that was under the control of militants who declared that no one was allowed to leave. Her husband paid a smuggler $250 so that she and the children were smuggled out through back country in a pickup truckload of sheep.

“Food had become so expensive that we couldn’t afford it,” says Khadija.

“When they [the militant group] took control, they made many rules and changed them frequently to be stricter. It was very dangerous for women. If a woman got caught in public without a man from her family, she would be taken to the mosque. Then they would go to pick up the guys from her family and beat them, throw them in prison, or kill them.”

“It is much better for us here, even though we have no assistance,” she says. Khadija and her children share a tent with her husband’s nephew and his family. Her husband stayed behind to take care of other family members.

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