Jihan, 40, schoolteacher. Origin : Syria
« In my country my husband and I were schoolteachers. We have four children, three boys and a girl. I came to Belgium alone because the journey is a long and risky one. I decided to go ahead. We used to call Syria the country of jasmine, to evoke its beauty. Before the war, my husband and I were busy starting up our small family business. I put all my energy into the education of our children. We belonged to the middle class, we had a house and a car. Then the situation became unbearable, food was becoming scarce. We tried to carry on the longest possible but there was no assistance of any kind over there. Terrorists were entering houses, killing randomly. People started to hide food, inside their TV for example. But if someone discovered it, you were burnt alive on the market place, as an example. Water was often poisoned too. We were living in fear. Of course I would like to go back there but I know that it will not be possible. The only thing I am thinking of now is a future for my children, and that we are united again very soon.
P.S: Jihan refuses to be photographed but she proposes to draw the portrait of her 2 years old niece who arrived in Belgium several weeks ago with her father Ahmed, Jihan’s cousin.