Editor’s note: In 2018, Syrian reporter and VOA contributor Nawroz Rasho fled bombings in her hometown, Afrin. She is now one of more than 100 million people displaced worldwide. From her new home in the Shabha camp for internally displaced persons or GOPs, Rasho, 31, continues to report on the lives of those around her. The following has been translated from Kurdish and edited for length and clarity.
Afrin is beautiful. It has mountains and forests all around and is known for its abundant olive trees and fine olive oil.
From 2012, the region was under the control of Kurdish forces. We had certain newfound freedoms. My journalism at the time centered on reflecting on the beauty of Afrin and covering the new political dynamics that were unfolding.
But war and displacement after Turkish forces invaded in 2018 turned my life upside down.
I had no choice but to join thousands of other residents seeking safety in a nearby mountain area, hoping to return when the situation calms down. While I was there, I continued to report.
My father and a brother stayed behind. But our house is near the Turkish border and it has come under protection.
A family member called to tell bad news: my father was killed during a Turkish bombing.
I was crushed. The war was overwhelming, and I could not handle the situation.
My father’s death made me realize even more how important journalism is. It made me understand how journalists become part of the story under these circumstances. They can also be victims.
I realized that journalism, for people like me, is more than just a job.
I became a displaced person along with thousands of Afrin residents, scattered in at least six displacement settlements throughout northern Syria.
I did not know what the future would hold, but I thought of staying in this camp, in Shahba, temporarily.
I had the chance to leave the camp and the country. But what made me happy and resume my journalism was that I experienced the same problems as other displaced people.
I saw many stories that had to be told and shared with the world.
Refugees and forced displaced people have many stories that go beyond the flight from home. Each of us has a story that represents the plight of refugees around the world.
My reporting became a bridge to connect the displaced with their family on the outside. It has changed many people’s lives.
For example, in 2019 I reported on a man named Jiwan.
In 2016, while fighting Islamic State militants in northern Syria, he lost his left hand and eye.
When he arrived at the camp, he had no prospect of a good future. But he found a passion for playing the drums.
Despite his physical disability and the difficult conditions in the camp, he cherished his newfound passion for music.
It took a lot of persuasion before he agreed to an interview. He was not sure if he was ready to appear in front of a camera.
But after VOA published his story in Kurdish and English, it moved many people and encouraged Jiwan to continue with his music.
The publicity led him to hold small concerts and participate in wedding parties within the camp. He is now a well-known drummer.
These stories make me believe in the power of journalism and the positive impact it has on many people, even under the most difficult circumstances.
Of course, it’s a challenge to be a reporter living in a relocation camp.
My colleagues and I do not have proper space and adequate equipment. Electricity and internet access are always an issue.
But we have turned a tent into a media hub where we are trying to create a better work environment and a sense of camaraderie.
If there is one thing that gives me hope and keeps me going, it is undoubtedly telling the stories of my fellow displaced residents.
This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.