By Natalie Ochoa | Published: February 06, 2018 09:20:31TEN YEARS AFTER HER MOTHER and three siblings left home to join a caravan of refugees fleeing war and poverty in Syria, Nadezhda and her mother have become the country’s first female emigrants.
They arrived at the Lebanese-Syrian border on January 28, 2020, just days after the Syrian government launched an offensive against rebel fighters.
“The government had already destroyed the main border crossing, but they were still trying to get people out,” Nadehzda told the ABC’s ABC Radio Melbourne program.
“I think it was only a matter of time before they would take us.”
Since then, Nadesha has been in Lebanon, helping to provide medical assistance to people who had fled their homes.
“We just stayed at home for months and months, and I think the people in Lebanon knew what was going on.
It was the only way to get out of the camps,” she said.”
They told us, ‘You have a lot of money, you have a family, we’re taking care of you’.”
And we said, ‘Yes, but what do you do?’
We just stayed with the family.
It is a different life.
It’s very difficult.
“When Nadesda was born in the 1980s, Syria was still in the grip of the regime of Bashar al-Assad.”
It was the worst situation that I could imagine, but we just stayed together and we had the faith in God and God was with us,” she told the program.
But her family’s journey took a different turn when her brother, who was also born in Syria but had fled the country, died at the age of 21.”
My brother was in the army, and when he died, my mother told me, ‘This is the only reason you are here,'” she said of the decision to return to her homeland.”
She said, it’s a good life, it is a good family.
I told her, ‘No, this is a bad life’.
“But there was another factor in the family’s decision to leave: their father, a Syrian army soldier.”
He was not only a father, he was a good soldier, and he gave us everything that we needed,” she explained.”
When I heard about what happened in Syria and how the army was destroying people’s homes, and how they were killing women and children, I just couldn’t stand it.
“She said she was “shocked” when she was told her mother’s decision would not be an easy one.”
You have your family, you’re a mother, you are a wife, you give your life to the country,” she recalled.”
But when you are in a situation like that, you can’t take it lightly.
“For Nadesja, leaving Lebanon came with a heavy price tag.”
A lot of people were going to die, but at the same time, I felt like I had to do something, I had no choice, because it was too late.
“So when I was ready, I started looking for work.
I started working for the ABC in Melbourne.””
I found work at a furniture shop and at a restaurant and at an airport.
I started working for the ABC in Melbourne.”
While she was in Melbourne, Nadedza was reunited with her mother.
“After a few months, I was just like, ‘Wow, I’m so happy I came home,'” she recalled of the reunion.
“So I said, my mum, I love you and we’re going to be best friends.'”
I got married and my husband is still alive and he is still in Syria.
He’s my best friend.”‘
They were so scared’After Nadesh died, the family was told she would not have any family back home.”
At that time, they said, I have to take my son and I have a child with him, and that’s it,” she recounted.”
And they said that, ‘Your child is dead, you don’t have any relatives, you just have a son.
And your wife is gone, you’ve gone home, you know.'””
And my husband was like, no, they’re not going to take him.
He was scared.
“Despite their difficult circumstances, Naderzas journey has given her a new perspective on life and the world around her.”
Life is difficult, but I’m really happy and I am happy to live my life,” she reflected.”
That’s what we do in Syria: we are happy to die and we want to live our life.
“And we love our country, we love the Syrian people, we are Syrians.”