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Mounya, 25 years old, from Aleppo, Syria

“My daughter, Jenna, is 5 years old, and ever since she was born, there has been war. She has only lived through war, air strikes and bombs, and now the refugee camp. Ola, her younger sister is only one year old. Both of them have only known this terrible life; it is all they know.”

“All I want is for them to see a beautiful future, where they can go to school, live safe and have a peaceful life, away from all of this misery. Everyone here has their own difficult and intense stories of friends and relatives who have died, or being separated from your loved ones. We have come to Europe to seek safety, and all we want is to live like we did before, happy and comfortable; that’s all we are looking for.”

Mounya is currently living in a UNHCR shelter in Athens, after 8 long months living in one of the Greece’s many refugee camps. Her and her family are awaiting relocation to another European country, but the bureaucratic process is very slow. When asked how she feels about building a new home in Europe, she admits she has mixed feelings.

“I know that in Europe there are good schools, and it is safe and secure for the children. There are good people too. If there are good opportunities for my daughters, I will be happy for them to grow up in Europe. But at the same time, the culture is different and it’s an unknown world. For the moment, our experience in Greece has been difficult, and far from what we had imagined. I know that growing up in Europe, Jenna and Ola won’t be as close to Syria as I am, they won’t have the beautiful memories of our homeland as I do, they might not even remember the journey to Europe. When they are older, they might not want to go back, because Europe will be home for them, but I will always want to go back.”

Photo: Clara Veale / Story: Voices of Refugees

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