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No choice but escape

Omnia, dressed in a green abaya and matching hijab, sits on the floor, patiently answering my questions through Google Translate. We are in her room, near an open window that lets in a breeze from Rainbow Street. A little girl sleeps beside me.

 

Omnia recalls how her life in Yemen starkly contrasts with her current situation Life was normal and promising, with a future in sight. But when the war began, her ability to make decisions ended. She was encouraged to leave Yemen with her sister to find work and support her family.

 

“My childhood days were destroyed,” Omnia said. Before leaving her country, her friendships began to fade as schools closed and she prepared to flee. She lost friends and neighbors who were close to her. Fleeing became a necessity.

 

In 2019, Omnia and her sister attempted to enter Jordan but were refused entry by the UNHCR due to border closures. A few years later, in 2023, the sisters finally made it into Jordan.

 

“The days were hard for me because I was afraid of everything around me,” Omnia recalled. She felt the impact of cultural differences such as clothing styles, accents, and food. She experienced prejudice from local Jordanians, who treated her differently as a refugee. Omnia especially missed the streets and atmosphere of Yemen, but mostly her family.

 

Through cleaning houses and working odd jobs, Omnia strives to study to become a teacher for young children. She yearns to return to Yemen one day and resume a life of familiarity, peace, and family.

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