Story of Amal

Palestine

My name is Amal, and I am Palestinian and 21 years old. I was forced to quite a university to flee the conflict in Syria. My father cried. He said, “we had a life in Syria” as we sat in his small flat in the crammed Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila in the suburb of Beirut in Lebanon. He does not like it here. He says, “we thought we were coming to paradise, but in fact, life here is hell.”


My dad himself is a Palestinian refugee and fled to Syria in 2012 with my mum and me. My three brothers stayed behind. My family moved from one dwelling to the next in Lebanon, where the rents are high. So, unfortunately, we were pushed by dwindling resources to move into Shatila, which was established to the south of Beirut in 1949.


Under Lebanese law, my dad, a former shop owner, cannot work, so he now relies on me to support his family. In Syria, I was studying trade and commerce at university, but now I am the source of income for my whole family. I have a good education, so I work teaching private lessons. I also volunteer for Association Najdeh.


Palestinian refugees who fled Syria settled in old camps in Lebanon, where aid and livelihood options are minimal.


Written by Rethinking Refugees

Story of Amal