Ali and his family fled from Syria when he was four. He’s been living in Lebanon for five years.
“I remember the soldiers at the checkpoint throwing our things on the ground and searching us from head to toe for weapons. Of course we didn't have any. I left Syria together with my parents and five siblings. My oldest sibling is Fatima. She's one year older than I am. She has a physical disability. I help her go to school and get back home every day.
Sometimes the bus driver tells me he can't take us, because he can't keep waiting until we’ve reached the bus. Usually I can convince him to wait. I wish I could force him to turn around whenever he leaves without us. He should see my sister crying.
We live in a settlement of 30 tents. As the situation back home got worse and worse, my grandparents, my uncle and aunt joined us. We want to go back as soon as possible. But every time we start to set out, something happens. The family of my friend went back, but now they're already back here again. Things are even worse than before. When we first arrived here, a neighbor gave us lessons. Now I’m learning the English alphabet and many other things. We sit in a circle, dance to music and draw. The female teacher is my favorite, Ms. Safiya. I go to school every day and learn – so that no one can tell me I’m stupid.”
Ali draws clothes with a passion and would later like to become a fashion designer. He pays his neighbor 5,000 lira per day to show him how to design clothes. He sold his first dress to a girl in the camp.