Shelters for families who are running from war is a near-by city of Kilis, 7 km away from the border with Syria. Since 2013, when this shelter was opened, 3100 babies were born. Life goes on…
“We want peace, we need peace as we need water..”, these are the lyrics of a song recited by a small Syrian boy, a refugee in the camp Ejbejli, at the moment when a group of West Balkan journalists visited the kindergarten where the children from the camp stay.
Dnevne Novine daily visited this camp, not far from the Syrian border.
Shelter for the families that had to run from war is near Kilis, a city that has been bombed by ISIS many times already.
After less than an hour drive through the landscape that gave us jitters, we arrived at the camp Ejbejli. We were faced with a big concrete fence and police at the entrance. They are there to protect the city from possible attacks… Everything was silent.
A few minutes after the journalists arrived, big iron doors opened and we entered the camp. We were surrounded by big fences. First thing I saw were children, Syrian refugees, that were running around, curious about who we were. There were a few guards around them as well.
There are almost 4 000 mobile containers in Ejbejli, at a space of 416.000 square meters. There are 23 000 innocent people living there, among which 12 000 are children. They ran for their lives. In the camp, we were told, there are 3 952 families.
“Camp was opened on June 3rd 2013, and it was built in 4 and a half months. The capacity is 25 000 people, and currently there are 23 000 people here. When we place them, we pay attention to bring families together in one space“, Orhan Đavid Urbuz, PR of the camp, told us.
85 liras a month
For each person in the camp, a fee of 85 Turkish liras is paid a month. The oldest member of the family receives a card that has the money needed for his household, and as a head of the family, he can take the money. There are two supermarkets in the camp.
Containers are 21 square meters, with two rooms. One is a living room with a kitchen, and the other is the toilet and bathroom.
It will never be the same
Azize MuHamed Hanifi, 24 year old Syrian from Halep, that I have found in the room where women knit, has been at the camp from the beginning. Shy young woman wearing a burka only looked at me, not understanding a single word of English. A woman who mentors them translated my questions, and Aziza told us her story.
“I have been here for three years, with my husband and children. I have three children of 3, 5 and 7 years in age”, Hanifi said for Dnevne Novine daily.
In Halep, her husband was a driver, and she was a housewife. Her biggest desire is for the war to finish, and to be able to return home.
She is thankful to God that her family is together and that they have a roof over their heads. She would like to have more money, because it is difficult to raise children with the amount they get.
When asked whether Syria can be the same country it used to be once the war is over, Hanifi shortly answer.
“I don’t think that it will ever be the same. I just wish for the war to be over.. For everything to start getting better”, she said sadly, because in the bomb attack in Halep she lost a sister.
The road to America
Hedil Hilo, also a girl from Halep, has different plans that most of her friends.
„I want to go to America. I want to earn money for my sister’s clinical treatment, because she has cancer. I am learning Turkish language because the Turkish Government can help us get to USA. UN and Turkish Government raised the most money, and it is up to me to earn the rest and help my sister get a new chance for life”, Hilo said in perfect English, showing us her book of Turkish language.
„I have one more level left until I am certified as C1. Later I can enrol in one of the Turkish universities, and to go to USA for student exchange”, Hilo said of her plans.
Most children at the camp had the luck to leave Syria with their parents, but there are those who became orphans.
Syrian girl Fatima was not as lucky as other children. Not even three years old, she became an orphan. Her parents were killed by a bomb, and she arrived at the camp with her grandfather. Beautiful little girl, with sad eyes, was happy to see newcomers at the camp. We could not talk with words, but her eyes told me enough of the pain and suffering this innocent little girl went through.
Turkey invested a lot of resources in Ejbejli. There are five schools at the school: two elementary schools, two high schools and one school for learning Turkish, as well as kindergarten. There is also a hospital with 6 doctors, two midwives and two nurses. There is an educational center for handicapped children. Camp has four social facilities intended especially for women, where they learn how to make carpets, earning more money. There are two improvised mosques in the camp as well, with a capacity of 7 000 people each.
Source: Cafe Del Montenegro