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Saad at the JRS Kafroun Centre in Syria. (JRS)

Kafroun, 19 March 2018 – Saad’s* life has been harsh since the beginning. He watched his mother abandon his family at the start of the Syrian war and has lived most of his 13 years of life in the turmoil of the ongoing conflict.

Shortly after his mother left, he and his brother were placed in an orphanage for seven months due to his father’s poor financial situation. These months left Saad with many painful memories to carry.

Once his father remarried, Saad and his brother were retrieved from the orphanage and fled from rural Hama, western-central Syria, to Tartus, a city on the Mediterranean coast, where a small room, unfit for habitation, awaited them.

In October 2017, Saad joined the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Kafroun Centre. When he first arrived, Saad was an expressionless boy who talked to no one and would not participate in activities.

After multiple psychosocial support sessions, the JRS Kafroun staff discovered that Saad faced violence and cruelty, not just outside his home but also inside, at the hands of his father.

“I have never seen a beautiful day in my life. My mom gave up on us and my dad put us in an orphanage because he could not afford to care for us…during that time I lost all emotion and became unable to express the pain I carry inside myself. I have cried for days and months,” Saad explained once in a session.

After three months of psychosocial and educational support at the JRS Kafroun Centre, Saad’s outlook on life improved tremendously. He began smiling again and even started participating in educational activities at the centre. He has also found a few friends.

“Here I found the love and care I have been looking for, and I am happy because I am now interested in all my school subjects…when I grow up, I would like to build something like this centre so that I can help other children.”

Saad is one of the many Syrian children who JRS accompanies through hardships that no child should ever have to endure. Seeing smiles return to the faces of children who have suffered immensely, like Saad, is enough to restore one’s hope in humanity.

*All names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals

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