The Story of Barihan

‘I’m Barihan. I’m 19 years old. I want to tell you a little bit about my life. I’ll start when I was 13 years old. The reason I went out of Syria was to get away from the army, because I was just a kid. We (my family) went to Turkey, and searched for work, but they didn’t accept me because I was too young. To help my dad, I told them I was 17 years old, because I have no big brother. I just have 1 brother and 2 sisters who are all younger than me. I used to carry 45 kg baskets of cucumbers and eggplants, and the weather was so hot. 50 degrees. I used to look at the children of our manager, as they’d come back from school, and my eyes would fill with tears, and in my heart I felt like our dreams had died.

We went to Istanbul. We decided that the best option was to go to Greece. 2 months later we found some smugglers. They asked 1500 Euros to get to Greece. We walked through the forest to get there, and it was so dark! We were 33 people all together, and one of the families that came with us got lost. We didn’t see them again. When some of the people got their feet stuck in quicksand, we wanted to call for help. But the smugglers beat us, including the children, saying we shouldn’t talk. On this journey we spent 4 days without food or water. Eventually we made it to Greece, but our suffering is not over. We lost our friends, our childhood, our dreams, our hope, ourselves. We are victims in the game of war.’

Barihan is currently volunteering in the kindergarten at Open Cultural Center.