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Families/Orphans Needing Support

Storytelling Advocacy

An Orphan's Story from Turkey: Shahd Al Zeer

“My name is Shahd Al-Zeer, I am 20 years old, from Idlib, Syria. I used to live in Syria with my family. A very beautiful life. Me, my mother, my father, and my brothers. Our house was very beautiful. I had friends. One day my house was destroyed by a missile. I miraculously survived that day. I left my house destroyed and fled the Syrian war to Turkey.

It was very difficult days in finding a home and settling down again and establishing everything from scratch and learning a new language, a new environment and new friends, and in the last period I felt a sense of adaptation and belonging after I grew up and started pursuing my dreams. I moved to a city that was a few hours away from my house to attend university and I used to talk on the phone with my family every day. On the day of the earthquake I called my mother the phone line did not answer and also with the rest of my family no one answers I checked the news about the disaster and the earthquake that demolished houses at dawn while people were sleeping I could not bear myself. And I traveled to Antakya with great difficulty because the roads were closed and some were broken and smashed. After my arrival, I saw the entire building destroyed. It looked like broken pieces of biscuits. My family's house was on the fifth floor. It has become equal to the sidewalk. Yes, I saw the window of my house. I knew the balcony from the things of my house. No one answers. I had hope that my family managed to escape before the construction took place. I went to the shelters, calling and shouting. No one answered.

Antakya is destroyed, people are in a state of amazement, I wanted someone to help me to help my family from under the rubble, no one answers. I pulled out the stones with my hands while I was destroyed and collapsed. I wait with tears of sadness and grief. In the first two days, dead people came out and people were alive. My body shivered when anyone was taken out and I went to see. No, this is not my family. Every day that passed, the percentage of finding alive survivors decreased, and on the seventh day, the digging reached the floor of my family's house, yes. They found my brothers. Yes, they are my family. The roof of the house is attached to the floor of the house. My brothers were crushed by the roof. Brother, how painful this was. Everyone was dead from the first moment of the earthquake, the corpses swelled, and the smell of death spread all over the place. Yes, I found my family in me. Iron and crushed stones, my family's belongings remained flying in the rubble, and my family left without returning. My mother was stained with blood. I lost my family. I feel sad. I cannot sleep at night. I have no one left in my family. I buried them without knowing the meaning of burial. With them, I wish the scene and the pain would be engraved in my heart until I die. I have no taste left in the world. I see everything empty. Who will return my family to me? Who will return our dreams? I had dreams that I want to disclose. I am a very dreamy person who loves life, but now I don't think I have any hope. I don't have anyone to achieve anything. I live alone in Turkey without my family, which I pulled under the rubble.

A painting of a train in winter scene
Shahd's Painting

I had a dream. I am a talented and intelligent girl. I draw. I have a talent from God. I love designs. You are studying interior architecture for a second year. This is my dream from childhood, but I don’t think I can reach my dream anymore. My family used to support me with everything, but now life supports me with its pressures, its unfair difficulty. I hated everything. I was a young woman brimming with hope, dreams and happiness, but now I see myself as an old woman waiting to die and go to her friend. I love to travel, but because I was born in Syria, I cannot go to a place. I love life, but life does not love me. I want to travel abroad to start a new life, for the world to take care of my drawing, to make money from my work, to go home with my car that I earned from my tiredness, to learn about cultures, to travel, to play with animals, to give them food as my mother used to do, to design houses for people, to do my profession as an engineer, to help people, to give back good, to be independent. Living as a human being, I want an opportunity to know about myself, I don't know if life will give me the chance, or it will trample on me without seeing me.”

Deliver Life-Saving Aid to the Turkish Border

A heartbreaking crisis continues to unfold in Turkey and Syria as our refugee brothers and sisters strive to rebuild their lives AGAIN after a series of devastating earthquakes.

As a gesture of solidarity and support, New Day and our partner Help4Refugees are fundraising to help families in need. 100% of your donation goes toward our tangible life-sustaining efforts on the ground.

Help us spread the word among your friends, families, neighbors, educators, and fellow community members to donate towards this grassroots advocacy campaign.


“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

~ Mother Teresa

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