When a crowded tent in Lebanon is almost like paradise

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Miriam sleeps in a small tent, no bigger than the size of a small bedroom, with nine other Syrian refugees.

The 10 women and children are some of the 1.6 million Syrians (at the time of publishing) who have fled to neighbouring countries seeking peace and safety.

This existence may not seem easy or comfortable, but Miriam describes it as paradise. “If you saw where we were sleeping in Syria, this is heaven,” she says, describing their nights sleeping on streets or in fields, fearful for their safety.

Miriam and the three grandchildren she brought with her have only been living in this settlement in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley for a few days. They have not yet registered for the refugee status that should help them get access to food and other basic necessities.

For now, Miriam and her grandchildren are surviving thanks to the generosity of others. Sharing what they can, women from other tents have been bringing them water and bowls of rice.

It’s a small comfort in a world where they’ve had to leave everything behind.

Support disaster ready fund Help to pre-stock warehouses with life-saving supplies and materials like tents and ensure our staff are ready to respond before conflict happens

TOP: Miriam, 64, is responsible for the care of her young grandson, Louay; BOTTOM LEFT: The tent that Miriam shares with nine other refugees who have fled the violence in Syria; BOTTOM RIGHT: Miriam feeds Louay rice that other refugees in the settlement have shared.

Miriam’s grandson, Louay, has already suffered an irreparable, unthinkable loss as a result of the Syrian conflict.

Just an hour after he was born, Louay’s mother, Sabria, passed away. She had complications during Louay’s birth but due to active shelling outside, her family couldn’t take her to a hospital. She was mostly unconscious the hour before she died, so it’s uncertain whether she got to see her beautiful baby boy – but the family ensured Louay was named according to Sabria’s wishes.

Like many other husbands, brothers, and sons, Louay’s father is also missing, leaving Louay’s care in the hands of his grandmother.

Miram looks after Louay, now nine months old, as best as she can, but admits that at 64 she finds it difficult to run around after him. Perhaps more daunting are the challenges of providing him with food, shelter, healthcare and education as he grows up.

She points to the sore on Louay’s round face. She’s not sure what it is as they haven’t been able to see a doctor during the last four months. But, she is concerned as Louay hasn’t received any of the vaccinations that a child his age would normally have had.

World Vision and other organisations are working in the Bekaa Valley to provide refugees with the basics: food, clean water, toilets, as well as safe spaces and educational opportunities for children. The needs continue to grow as new families arrive in the area every day.

With no end in sight for the Syrian conflict, the future for refugees like Louay and Miriam is uncertain. Like most mothers, she is concerned more about the others in her care than herself. “If I die, I hope that God will protect my children,” she says.

How you can help

Your support for the Syrian Refugee Crisis Appeal will enable World Vision to help children and their families affected by this conflict. Donate today to help families gain access to food, blankets, warm clothing, fuel and personal hygiene items.