Mona (5) stands outside her plastic-tarp tent in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, December, 2016.
Mona shelters here with her parents and three siblings. The family is originally from a small village in Syria east of Damascus, Al Abbadeh. In 2013, clashes erupted and her village was bombed. She escaped with her family to her grandparents’ home in another village, which was subsequently bombed. The family fled again to the home of her other grandparents, but war followed, and soon her father had been captured. He was held in prison for forty days, and upon his release, the family fled to Lebanon in June of 2016 where they currently remain. Their original home in Al Abbadeh has since been destroyed.
Mona’s parents Amina and Qassem would like to go back and rebuild when it becomes safe, but have been trying to make a home for their family here. Qassem works as a porter and Amina obtains intermittent work as a housekeeper. Fortunately Mona and her siblings are in school. Halima (14) wants to become a doctor. Marwa (12) wants to be a teacher. Khaled (9) wants to become a mechanical engineer. Mona said she just wants a Barbie doll.
When we asked Amina about any medical concerns for herself or her family she noted that she has breast lumps, her husband has varicose veins, and Mona suffers from asthma. Their greatest needs listed food, mattresses and winter clothes.