Their Story

Thuha holds one of the dolls she made near her family's tent in Lebanon.

UNHCR/Sam Tarling

The Ragdolls and the Clay Oven

Sisters Shamsa and Thuha miss playing with their cousins in Syria, so their mother has found a creative way to keep the young refugees entertained.

Their Story
  • Produced by
    Warda Al-Jawahiry
  • Filmed by
    Houssam Hariri
24 March 2016 24 March 2016

Shamsa and Thuha fled Aleppo, Syria, with their family when they were just seven and five years old, respectively. One of the things they miss the most is playing with their cousins and making ragdolls together.

Shamsa remembers being scared when bombs started falling on their neighbourhood. When the family ultimately fled, the girls feared for the fate of the dolls, so they put them in a bag and hid them in the clay oven in their garden.

The family have been living as refugees in a tent in Lebanon for three years now. Shamsa and Thuha’s father lost his eyesight to diabetes. Their mother struggles to pay the rent, buy medication and feed the family with the aid they get.

But Shamsha and Thuha are too young to understand these struggles. Using leftover fabric from their mother’s tailoring work, the girls have gone back to making ragdolls. But the sisters ultimately wish to go back to Syria and rescue the dolls in the oven.