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A Nightmarish Journey from Syria to Greece

by User Not Found | Jan 14, 2016

Right now in Greece, gifts from donors like you are in action, helping so many refugees who came there for asylum from the terrors of war. Today we share with you the story of one of these people – a young woman named Nermim whose family received refugee health and hygiene kits, thanks to donors like you.

When the horrors of the brutal conflict in Syria became too dangerous for Nermim and her family, her husband escaped to the Netherlands to jumpstart a new life for them. When he arrived safely, Nermim, her son and her aunt soon followed.

The journey almost cost them their lives.

Nermim with her son & aunt in Greece. She suffers from stress-related sores.

Every refugee has their own unique story of struggle, heartbreak and danger. Nermim's is especially unsual - and terrifying.

Like thousands of other refugees, Nermim and her son and aunt fled to Turkey to risk the short but perilous journey across the Aegean Sea to Greece. On the day they departed, Nermim and her family joined dozens of other Syrian refugees in a small rubber boat.

While still in Turkish waters, masked men on jet skis attacked, smashing the boat with sticks. People screamed. The hijackers bashed the boat’s driver with sticks. The rubber vessel rocked violently as the hijackers attempted to capsize it into the deadly sea.

Terrified, Nermim ducked down, closed her eyes and prayed. She thought she would die and was terrified for what would happen to her son.

The attackers finally left. No one was killed, but everyone on the boat was soaked, freezing and traumatized. While it’s unclear why, there have been reports in recent months of masked men attacking refugee boats. “God saved us,” Nermim said.

"God saved us."

When the family eventually came ashore in Greece, they were ice-cold, wet and filthy. What little belongings they had washed away in the attack.

Thankfully, donors like you sent refugee health and hygiene kits to care for Nermim and her son. They received the kits when they arrived in Greece. If not for the kits, Nermim’s family would literally have nothing but the soaking clothes on their backs. 

Because of the care kits donors like you sent, Nermim feels safe. She says it has provided a great comfort after a terrifying ordeal.

While Nermim is haunted by exposing her son to the danger of the attackers and the sea, she knows she is making the right decision. If they’d stayed in Syria, they would be risking death on a daily basis.

Nermim and her family now must wait in Greece to be processed and to continue on to the Netherlands. The conditions are unimaginable. Refugees must wait on the islands for their registration process to be complete. The timing of this can greatly vary per island and per situation, from two days to up to two weeks. The intake areas are dirty, busy, disorderly and cramped. Refugee kits help them stay healthy, hygienic and safe.

Your gift is truly a blessing - sending health and hope to people just like Nermim and her family during such a profoundly dark time.