Balqees – In Syria, life was easy because we were very young, and we were surrounded by family. I was 12 when we left Syria because of the fighting. At first, it was easy, we didn’t have passports, but we were able to enter Turkey easily. Back then the borders were open. Now, you’re not supported in Turkey, and you’re constantly told to go back home. You have to fight to be here.
When we first arrived, I went to a school for Syrian children. When I was at school. I used to volunteer for an organisation which gave me a grant to attend college. The Turkish Government made schools for Syrians which are free, but we have to pay for college and it’s expensive. We have to pay the same price as Turkish students, but Turkish students are eligible for scholarships, we aren’t.
I’m now attending a college and studying International Law. I would like to be a peacemaker. I’ve studied a lot of things. I’m a skincare and hair professional and I’ve studied editing and media. I used to work for the Arabic section of TRT.
Hiba – We don’t live in a camp; we live in a normal house. If we go to a Syrian school, it’s free but if we go to a Lebanese school we have to pay. My sister and I went to school for a short while, but we were bullied for being Syrian. We eventually decided not to go back because we wanted to help my mom in the restaurant, she worked in. I stopped my education when I was 15. We studied at home for a while, now I’m trying to teach myself a lot of languages and help my mom. The restaurant had to close for a little while because of COVID-19 so we started our own business.