"I hope no one will have to pass through what we've been through."
These are the words of Avine*, a woman who lost almost everything to the war in Syria. Her independence, her home, her husband.
Watch this video to hear her story:
Avine is one of an estimated 1.5 million Syrian refugees living in desperate conditions in Lebanon. Having endured the war that is tearing apart their country for as long as they could bear, Avine's family fled to Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, where they have been living for the last two years. Shortly after arriving in the country, Avine's husband tragically died.
Widowed with five children, Avine's life is now a daily struggle.
The seemingly endless war in Syria has displaced more than four million people – most of them are sheltering in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. Some Syrians have been living as refugees since the war began five years ago. While the media moves on and people get tired of hearing about the plight of those forced to flee, the war for people like Avine goes on and on.
In Lebanon, refugees are not legally allowed to work, nor are official 'refugee camps' permitted. This means many refugees have to work illegally for a few dollars a day in order to pay the extortionate rent charged by landlords. Whole families eat, sleep and live in one room. Their lives don't resemble anything they knew before the war.
Not one of Avine's five children is in school. They, and thousands of other children like them, have to spend their days hanging around their tent, helping with chores or working illegally. Children like these are at risk of trafficking, early marriage or falling prey to extremists – at risk of being plucked from the daily monotony of their lives and forced into something even more tragic.
Without the monthly food packages Avine receives from a local church, which is supported by UK-based Christian charity BMS World Mission, survival for her family would be even harder. "The church has been helping as much as they can – giving food packages every month," says Avine. "Their support is very helpful."
The church is also providing education for hundreds of Syrian refugee children, keeping them off the streets and investing in their futures. Giving them something to focus on and strive towards. BMS is partnering with this church, and you can help them support even more children by giving to the charity's Syria's Forgotten Families appeal.