Germany, Kiel / Germany’s Humanitarian Assistance Programme/ Syrian refugees / The girls of the Al Issa Al Olayean family like to paint.

Kheder Al Issa Al Olayean (42) is from Daraa in Syria. He is married to Najwa Al Jarabaa (39) and they have seven children, including Abdullah Al Issa Al Olayean (17), Ouday Al Issa Al Olayean (15), Maysaa Al Issa Al Olayean (13), Alaa Al Issa Al Olayean (11), Asmaa Al Issa Al Olayean (9), Anwar Al Issa Al Olayean (7) and Louai Al Issa Al Olayean (4).

Before the war in Syria Kheder had his own small shop selling herbs and coffee, and a taxi in which he used to distribute gas and he also used to work in construction. The family had their own house and lived in a village in the outskirts of Daraa.

They fled when the war reached Daraa and clashes surrounded their house. They were internally displaced twice before fleeing to neighbouring Lebanon in 2012.

Abdullah and his younger sister Anwar are suffer from thalassemia, a blood disease characterised by abnormal formation of haemoglobin, which leads to overproduction of iron in the body, amongst other complications. Before the war in Syria, Abdullah and his sister received regular medical treatment. But in Lebanon, due to the high costs (approximately $7000 a month for medicine and monthly blood transfusions), it became impossible for the Kheder to cover the costs.

Work was sporadic in Lebanon, if he was lucky he would get ten days a month, which just about covered basic food. Otherwise the family survived of UNHCR food vouchers and lived by borrowing from friends and neighbours.

Initially they got some help from local charities for the medical treatment, but as the number of refugees into Lebanon increased, this became harder. In the last six months, treatment stopped all together, and Abdullah’s health degenerated, affecting his heart, and his pancreas. Without medicine he developed diabetes and eventually was bed bound. Had he continued to not receive treatment, his inter