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”Leaving them behind was the hardest thing I ever had to do. The situation in Syria was no longer bearable. I had no idea where I was going or whether I was going to survive the journey. I knew it would be dangerous so I decided to go by myself and have my family come over as soon as I would have something to offer them. As I had expected, the journey was really harsh. When I arrived in the Netherlands, I decided to stay. I was able to skype with my family but I missed holding them in my arms so much. I couldn’t focus on learning Dutch because I was thinking about my wife and children all the time. During the first months I stayed in an old prison building and I applied for asylum. After 8 months, having secured status in the Netherlands, I was able to start the procedure for family reunification. Day and night, I was busy to get my children and wife over here. Then the day came when they arrived at the airport. A friend of mine came along to capture the moment that I could finally see my sons and wife. Watching that video still breaks my heart. Now that they have been with me for a few months, I feel that our life can finally take off. What kept me going during the entire journey was the thought of that moment when I would finally hold my boys in my arms again. I just want them to grow up in a safe environment. Right now they are getting used to the life over here. I am just happy to see that they are very normal kids who love animals and playing games. I am so happy that they can have a future and no longer have to worry about bombs dropping from the sky.”

*Time and Majd, 4 and 5 years old, from Syria (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)


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