Deema Kashak is a young Syrian woman living in Fresno . What follows is recount of her journey to America.
By Deema Kashak
I was born in 3/5/2002 in the city of Homs in Syria. My family and I lived in Homs until 2012. My dad Thafer, my mom Nour, my brother Basil, and my little sister Lamar, we all fled to Jordan after the Syrian civil war started in 2011. I was raised in a very nice family environment. We had a big factory that made Tahini, two stores where we sold sweets, two cars, and one building in Syria.
When we went to Jordan we crossed the border on foot, we walked for 14 hours with help from the Jordanian army. We had to escape at night from Syria because the government of Syria didn’t want us leaving the country, many other families resorted to leaving Syria this way so that they could find safety and a better life. We stayed in Zaatari refugee camp for 3 days and they were some of the worst days of our lives. We left the Zaatari camp with help from our friends because life was better outside the camp, and we lived in Jordan for almost 5 years.
My family and I arrived to the US on 5/31/2016 through a process by the UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency) and we have been living in Fresno for almost one year now. I’m a student at Kastner Middle School, I love my teachers and my friends. I have a dream to became a successful Syrian Muslim woman in the US. One of my goals is to finish my education and help my family. I want my parents to be proud of me because they are working really hard to support me and my siblings to live a safe and productive life.
When we arrived in Fresno, many people helped us; my cousins, my aunt and her friends from the community, Muslims and non-Muslims helped us in so many different ways. My parents both are working hard to provide us with what we need, I’m very proud of
them because moving to the US, learning a new language, and integrating into American society is not easy. We lost everything in Syria and came here to start from zero to rebuild our new lives.
I’m trying to build my own identity here as a Muslim Syrian girl by preserving my own culture, language, religion, and my Syrian identity. I want to be a successful Muslim young woman in the US.
This is just the beginning of my story…