Notes From the Field

The dolls they make bring them happy memories of home



© UNHCR/Sam Tarling

Shamsa and Thuha are sisters. They love playing in the sunshine and wearing rainbow-colored clips in their hair. But, they miss their home in Syria where they hope to someday reunite with their special friends.

It’s been three long years for the girls, who live with their parents in a Lebanese refugee camp. Their mom struggles to pay rent and buy medication for their father, who has severe diabetes.

At just five and seven years old when they fled, these sisters don’t quite understand the struggle and uncertainty of life in a refugee camp. But Shamsa, the older sister, still remembers the thunder of planes flying overhead, the earth-shattering bombs and the fear she felt as her family fled for their lives.

Yet, you wouldn’t know that Shamsa and Thuha have experienced extreme hardship and danger when they talk about their home in Syria and their beloved dolls.

Their mother, a tailor, taught them how to make dolls out of the scraps leftover from her projects. After they arrived in Lebanon, she told her daughters, “Why don’t you start making dolls like we used to do in Syria?”

Shamsa and Thuha cut yellow fabric to make the perfect dress for their new dolls. When they finish, they take their dolls for a walk around the camp. The sisters’ new companions are small reminders of a home they hope to return to one day.


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May 24 2016
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