Abdul Kader and his family have been forced to run for their lives several times since the Syrian conflict began seven years ago.

Imagine being displaced not just once, but five times. That’s what happened to Abdul Kader and his family. They had to move from one neighbourhood in Homs to another as brutal fighting closed in around them.

The experience left them afraid and exhausted, but was particularly hard on Abdul’s three children, who had to leave their school and friends behind.

“We were so scared, moving around from house to house, taking everything with us,” says Abdul’s 14-year-old daughter, Dania.

Children play football on a street in Baba Amr, Homs, Syria. ©UNHCR/Andrew McConnell.

“Every time we moved, I fell further behind in school,” adds her brother Saleh, 12, who wants to be an astronaut when he grows up. “So many days were wasted.”

After five years away, Abdul returned to the ruins of his home and the scale of the destruction left him numb. “At first I didn’t react at all. I was in shock. I went in for five or 10 minutes, then left. I just couldn’t stand it,” he says.

After a couple of weeks, the former Arabic teacher found the strength to return. Working alone in the rubble of his house, he slowly began to clear the debris and fill the gaping holes left by years of shelling.

“This seven-year war has left a colossal human tragedy in its wake."
UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.

With financial assistance from UNHCR, the family has been able to renovate much of what remained of their home, replacing doors and windows and repairing the water and electricity networks. Their situation is not easy, but they are glad to be in a familiar place.

In his statement marking the seventh anniversary of the Syrian conflict, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said, “This seven-year war has left a colossal human tragedy in its wake. For the sake of the living, it is high time to end this devastating conflict. There are no clear winners in this senseless pursuit of a military solution. But the losers are plain to see – they are the people of Syria.”

Abdul’s family is just one of many who face an uncertain future in Syria as the war rages on. You can help them rebuild their lives.

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