12 March 2024

My name is Maryam, I’m from Syria. When I was a child, I lost my parents and lived in an orphanage. I had a tough life growing up in the orphanage. I cried a lot and went through a lot of gross injustice. That was the situation while I was growing up until I fled away during the Syrian war towards Lebanon. There I started working and rented an apartment to settle down. I worked for 5 or 6 years; I was treated with a lot of oppression. I was always told “she is just a piece of Syrian… Dirty Syrian”.

I was humiliated a lot. I got tired of facing such a life alone. I met a man and we got married. Due to the economic collapse in Lebanon, life got a lot worse. I kept working as a domestic worker, but many households I worked for did not pay me. I was tired. I got tired from how people talk to me, from humiliation, from belittling, being disrespected.

Due to everything my family and I lived through in Lebanon, my elder son developed a mental health illness. Every day, I would cry and my children as well.

Maryam* on board of Geo Barents.<br>

Maryam* on board of Geo Barents.

I decided to flee away, first for the sake of my children. When I see what my children have endured, my heart breaks. I decided to leave and try to arrange for family reunification, so they no longer live the agony I went through. By migrating, I hoped to secure a better future for my children and be able to provide them with education.

I left Lebanon towards Egypt and then Libya, with the help of others. I left Lebanon in January 2023 towards Libya. There I was threatened with weapons and imprisoned. In Libya, I lived through horror. Many times, bullets were shot above my head. I was attacked and assaulted. I experienced hunger and thirst. One person sold me to another, who sold me to another. That’s how I spent a year there. 

They exploited me and raped me. They would break into my room like monsters.

I was exploited a lot, especially because of my Christian faith. They broke my mobile phone because they saw a picture of the Virgin.

They exploited me and raped me. They would break into my room like monsters. 

I left by the sea; the waves were really high and at many moments I thought I would die, or the boat would capsize. Here [on Geo Barents], I’m not able to sleep, because of all the stress I went through. I have anxiety for real. I am tired physically and mentally. 

Now, I wish I can forget everything that has happened and start again. I survived all this due to a miracle. Now I have decided to forget everything and start again. I want to work and reunite with my children.

*Name has been modified to protect the identity.