Syrian refugee women building a new life in Illinois

Loumay Alesali
Medill Reports

The journey of Hanan Fayoumi and her four children from Damascus, Syria to Rockford was full of struggles and unpredictability.

She left her home with her husband and kids after violence escalated in 2012 and went to her parents’ big house in a safe village. They stayed with all of her siblings and their families who fled their houses too.

Living with 70 people in one home was difficult and finding a place to rent was impossible, hence they moved to Jordan where her son had to quit high school to work when his father was diagnosed with Lymphoma cancer.

After a year and a half of living in the United States, Fayoumi makes her living from cooking and selling food to the Arab community to provide for her family and help her son who works in an ice cream shop in Rockford.

Arabic to English translation by Loumay Alesali.

Photo at top: Hanan Fayoumi, 38, came to the U.S. in August 2016. (Loumay Alesali/MEDILL)