However, this picture tells a much bigger story. What really shines through is her incredible strength.
The firewood she’s carrying was the only thing separating her and her family from starvation. Every day she would walk for miles to collect this firewood and sell it at the nearest market to make enough money to buy one small meal for her family.
Often she has done this on an empty stomach, with a rope tied around her waist to stop the hunger pangs from getting her. She told me that she sometimes went 10 days without food, so that her children wouldn’t have to.
You can see her caring nature and her overwhelming love for her children as her youngest, Amoni, is wrapped tightly to her back. He had become malnourished from the lack of food. Throughout the entire day that I spent with this beautiful family, he clung adoringly to his mother with his every waking moment.
As Atiir and I talked, and I learned more about the awful challenges she confronted every day, it gave me some comfort to know that Amoni was now receiving the treatment he needed. And that Concern were expanding their operations in the region so that families like hers would not be facing this crisis on their own. But I was also acutely aware that it was Atiir who had kept her family going up until this point.
When I look at this photo I see the fortitude, the determination and the pride that stopped her from ever giving up. It perfectly encapsulates her spirit. They say a picture paints a thousand words and I think that’s never been more true than this picture of Atiir.
In 2020, Syria will enter its 10th year in crisis. Since it began, around 1.5 million people have escaped the violence of their home country to seek safety in Lebanon. In January, I travelled to Northern Lebanon to meet with some of these refugees who are beginning to rebuild their lives.
One of the people I met was Khadija*, a 42-year-old mother of three, who was a participant in Concern’s dairy treatment scheme. When I met her, she was just finishing a shift making halloumi with fellow refugees in a local dairy co-op.
Khadija fled Syrian with her family in 2013 after violence arrived in her quiet village.
“I had a great fear of dying. My greatest fear was losing my children. I always prayed to God that if my children were to die in Syria, that we would all go together,” she told me.