After 5 years of conflict in Syria, 13.5 million people are in need of help.

Over 5 million Syrians have been forced to flee their homes, searching for safety in neighbouring countries and in Europe. As crisis continues, the International Rescue Committee is working inside Syria, across the region and in Europe to support those people to live a life worth living.

I feel strong, brave, confident and calm

Name: Siwan
Age: 29 years old
Current location: Dohuk, Iraq
Hometown: Hasakah province
Job before war: Secondary school teacher
Job now: Child protection social worker at the International Rescue Committee

“In the past five years, I have learned to hold on to my dreams, ambitions and hopes, regardless of where I am. I have learned that patience is the way to fulfill my dreams, and that I can overcome the obstacles in my life.

“I fled Syria with my husband, my little daughter and my one-month old son, and things were very difficult. I felt weak, scared and worried, but now I feel strong, brave, confident and calm.

“After I came to Dohuk I decided I wanted to do something for refugee children, and I started to work as a volunteer. Seeing the impact of the IRC’s work on children who had experienced war and displacement was very rewarding, and I still remember the happy looks on their faces. Since then I have been dedicating all my energy to working with refugee children.

“There are so many people I want to visit once the war ends! I miss my sisters and brothers and friends that have remained in Syria, but the first person I want to visit is my dearest childhood friend. I want to hug her and tell her how much I missed her.

“I want to be living in a safe place — I do not mind where, as long as it is safe. I also hope I will be an experienced social worker by then to be able to better help children, including my own.”

Meet six faces behind the numbers who today work for the IRC.