Planting gives hope

“I came from Al Qamishli, in northern Syria. I came here to be secure and to feed my family. By September 2012 the situation in Syria was too bad, it was unsafe and we couldn’t stay there any more. I have three daughters of marrying age and I was worried about them being kidnapped or held hostage – bad things happen. I have one son, and I was worried he would be forced into the military. So I took all my family:
we walked to the border of Iraq and then to the refugee camp. Before, I was working as a painter and decorator and nurseryman for people from the Gulf who owned a big villa, so I have practical skills and gardening skills. Now, I am jobless.

“I am Volunteer Mayor for one section of the camp. Since I became a mayor, I’ve been trying to improve people’s understanding of greening and food growing – kids especially.

“I dream that I will be able to go back to my country but while I am living here I want to improve my situation, especially by growing plants because plants are alive for everybody. If you find green things you will have positive feelings… if it is desert you have negative feelings. So if Domiz Camp is greener it will be a positive life even if it is temporary.

“My idea is if we set up a greenhouse we will create jobs for many people. If it is shared between many people it will produce food for many of the families here. Also, planting gives hope to the people who live here. As you take care of a small baby that grows up between your arms, planting gives you hope for life but also produces food. A successful project would be a greenhouse for home use and to sell the food. If there is a piece of land we can make a greenhouse on it: there is much empty space in the camp we can use.”

Adnan, Domiz Camp