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“I have many dreams”

“Ich bin stolz, weil ich kurde”. This is Meskin Hagi's staus on WhatsApp. In spite of a few grammatical errors in the German, the idea is clear: “I am proud of being Kurdish”. After spending nine months in Switzerland, she has studied to reach an intermediate level of the language. Hagi, 27, came with her mother, and three brothers, two of which are minors. However, not everyone succeeds in entering Europe. Since 2011 when the civil war began between the armed forces of Bashar Al Assad's government and the rebel groups in Syria, more than one million Syrians fled to Lebanon.

This small country has taken on the heavy load of immigrants. The government is doing everything it can so that the Syrians do not stay and the situation is intensifying. Even when the refugees in this country have the money to pay rent, it is nearly impossible for them to find someone willing to lease them an apartment. The fear is that they won't respect the contract, that more people will be living in the space than had been previously agreed upon or that the condition of the property will deteriorate. These fears come into play because of the prejudices that many hold. In the meantime many refugees live in houses funded by the State.

Since the beginning of the year, nearly four million Syrians have taken refuge in Western Europe, 40% of which are children under the age of 12. “When will we return to our country? I don't know. My dream is to be able to stay in Syria with a job and with my family, living with good people in peace. Even though it is true that I meet good people here”, Meskin says. “In reality, I have many dreams”. 

Karina Alarcón reporting from Winterthur




St. Peter’s Square

Feb. 19, 2020