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Living without water: Um Ahmad’s Story


March 24, 2021 • 3 min read

Um Ahmad fled Aleppo when her home was destroyed four years ago. Escaping shelling and violence she sought refuge in Kafar Takharim with her four children and husband.

“I came to Kafar Takharim because it was safe here. The situation in Aleppo’s countryside was really bad when we fled. Even our house was destroyed by shelling.” Um Ahmad says.

Uh Ahmad and her family have struggled since her husband Farid passed away

The family were grateful to escape with their lives. But life has been difficult since they were forced to abandon their home. Um Ahmad’s husband Farid* died of cancer, leaving her as the family’s sole breadwinner.

“After his death I was left alone with four children. And without an income. I had to cover all the costs of living – food, electricity, water and school expenses. Everything is really expensive.”

Families struggling to put food on the table

Under constant bombardment the local economy has collapsed in North Western Syria. Employment is hard to come by and prices are constantly rising due to inflation.

“Even men can’t earn a living and provide for their family here. How can a woman care for her family under these conditions?” Um Ahmad says.

With extensive damage to local infrastructure, daily life is a struggle. Power failures and structural damages have destroyed many of the water networks in the region. For families like Um Ahmad’s accessing enough water just for washing and cooking was a challenge.

Um Ahmad explains, “we really suffered because we did not have sufficient access to water. We had to buy water from water trucks.”

Going days without water

Depending on private vendors proved expensive and unreliable with deliveries infrequent. “Sometimes we had to go two days without water until the vendor brought us a water tank.” Um Ahmad says.

Help families in Syria

“Living without water for two days is a very difficult. And buying water from the vendors is very costly. 20 Turkish Liras (€2.15) for one tank of water. We live in poverty, this is a lot of money for us as we have no income.”

The quality of water provided was also a concern for Um Ahmad, “Sometimes it was contaminated and this added to our suffering. It wasn’t safe for drinking. But we had no choice and had to use this water.”

Restoring water networks

Thankfully, GOAL teams are working on the ground in North West Syria to restore water networks. Local engineers are supporting over 60 water stations, supplying safe drinking water to over 800,000 people.

GOAL engineer Ahmed is working with local communities to restore water access. “The community desperately needed this support to provide clean drinking water and tackle poor hygiene conditions,” he explains. “We’re seeing the rewards with reduced prevalence of disease such as diarrhea and typhoid.”

The restoration of the local water network has transformed Um Ahmad’s life. “Our sincere thanks to GOAL for their support to the piped water service. We were really suffering,” she says.

Uh Ahmad’s children can drink safely from the tap once again

“Thankfully, the situation is different now. Not having to worry about water access is a huge relief. Now that we get our water through the pipes, all we have to do is turn on the tap.”

“The water from the taps is safe to drink. And we can use the money we used to spend on water to meet our family’s needs.”

You can help families like Um Ahmad’s and support GOAL’s work in Syria with a donation today.

*Some names in this story were changed in order to protect beneficiaries’ identities.