Germany, Waechtersbach / Germany’s Humanitarian Assistance Programme/ Syrian refugees / Here: Abdullah (6) enjoys a break and fools around.

Ahmad Khawam (32), his wife Najwa (26), their son Abdullah (6) and daughter Ruah (4) had fled from war in Aleppo, Syria in 2012. They fled their home when the bombing arrived in their town, ‘within 24 hours the city was destroyed’, Ahmad tells.

They arrived in Lebanon in 2012 and shared a small flat with Ahmad’s two brothers and sisters and their children. Ahmad was able to find sporadic work which kept them going, but he knew there was no future in Lebanon, especially with regards to Abdu’s special needs. Ahmad and his wife discovered he had problems with hearing when he was seven months old.

The family had been accepted by Germany’s Humanitarian Assistance Programme and travelled to Germany in September 2013. They were among the first group of Syrians to arrive in the country under this programme.

Now they live in the town of Waechtersbach, near Frankfurt / Main. Ahmad’s two children are at nursery, and Ahmad studies German at adult education college in nearby town of Gelnhausen. In two months he will graduate with his German language certificate. One he has this, he can begin looking for work. He hopes to continue his profession and find work in some of the iron warehouses in the town. Abdullah had a second operation on the left ear and a new hearing aid on his right ear. Now when he wears both, he can hear 90%. Doctors recommended that Abdullah join a regular nursery instead of a school for special needs, as this will help him integrate and learn German faster. Abdullah struggles with this new language as he still can’t form the words, but his father feels he is integrating well.

UNHCR / G. Welters / November 2014