ALEPPO, Syria, Amina's only dream is to be able to read and write in a safe house, as her worst nightmare is falling off her half destroyed balcony, which she referred to as the "home of destruction" in Syria's Aleppo city.
The 16-year-old girl has never been to a school for study, but she stayed in a school when she was repeatedly displaced along with her family, as some schools in Aleppo city have turned into shelters for those who lost everything to the war.
Although the war is over in Aleppo city, its scars are still there and are not easy to be wiped away by the end of the war only.
Amina and her family have been displaced several times from a home they had rented in Aleppo when the war was raging. The owner of their previous home kicked them out of the house because they could not afford the rent.
They slept in gardens and sought refuge in schools before they finally moved into a largely destroyed building that could fall at any moment and it was not even theirs.
This fall-at-any-moment house is their sanctuary now as they do not have to pay a rent or anything to the actual owners who fled when the war was raging so close, just meters away from a formerly rebel-held area.
When the real owners returned to check the house after the war was over, they found the poor family inside and decided to let them stay as long as it takes as the building will eventually collapse.
For Amina's family, it was a bittersweet dwelling. It's free, but it's extremely dangerous and the family sleeps with nightmare of being buried alive.
The building has lost its facade and all the houses are without windows. It seemed as if a bunch of concrete blocks crammed over one another to make a mutilated shape that looks nothing like a building suitable for living.
Inside the house, there were no doors separating the rooms and the ceiling is punctuated with holes that are covered with sheets. To their hard luck, the so-called home is on the top floor.
Their fridge is empty and the family sits on cushions on the ground and they sleep on them too. The balcony of the house is actually without walls or fences as half of it is already destroyed.
"We are scared of falling out of the balcony or the possible collapse of this building. Most of the time my mother does not allow us to sit here and keeps us inside," Amina told Xinhua.
She said their displacement and the fear of mortar shells that used to rain down Aleppo from the rebels' side had pushed her parents to keep Amina and her siblings from going to school.
Amina's illiteracy has also caused her a great trouble and embarrassment among her friends, and it's a shame that a bright girl like her with great eloquence cannot read or write, but she can speak and express herself so fluently.
"I can't read or write. When someone comes and asks me to write something, I tell them I cannot. I feel so embarrassed among my friends because I am illiterate and I cannot text anyone on the cellphone," she said.
Amina said she spends her day cleaning the house, washing the clothes in a plastic bowl on the wall-less balcony, and taking water from an old bathtub that they used as a water tank.
Her family has nothing to eat for the day and the fridge is empty, she said, looking around, with a giggle that reflects pain, not joy.
Looking at her mother, she said "I wish she could allow me to go to school now, but she always tells me that I have become too old for school and that they do not have the money to buy me a school bag."
Seham, mother of Amina and eight other children, told Xinhua that she has no choice but is so helpless. To stay in the house is all she can do as they are in dire need for money with her older sons in the military. She relies largely on her old husband who works as a porter, carrying stuff for people for little money.
The mother also relies on her 11-year-old son who works for 4,000 Syrian pounds, less than 10 U.S. dollars a week.
"That's why we are here, unable to go anywhere else, at least we have a roof over our heads, which is much better than ending up on the streets. I do not allow them to stay on the balcony because it has no walls and they could fall off. I especially fear for my little boy," she said.
Source: Nam News Network