10 questions with: Amani Al Brzawe, Amani is at City Plaza with her 3 sons and husband. They also have a 10 year old daughter who is in Germany.
From: Damascus, Syria
At City Plaza since: 05/16
- What does City Plaza mean to you?
It’s a home. We are leaving in 2 weeks (Amani and her sons and husband have been granted asylum in Germany and will join her daughter there). It’s been 1 year and 5 months since I last saw my daughter. I feel so emotional. Of course I am happy to be travelling towards her, and so glad to be moving towards a new life for my family. But, at the same time I will feel so sad to leave my home here. While I’ve been packing I’ve cried a lot.
- 3 words to describe the experience of living with 400 others at City Plaza:
Love, solidarity, fraternity
- What is are the differences between the camps and City Plaza?
There are a lot of differences. Recently I visited a friend and her family in a camp and I was reminded of the contrast between here and there. It’s so sad to see children living in the camps, without good food, in the cold, with no safe or clean place to play.
Here my family and I can live independently. Having our own room makes such a difference to our day to day life. I can sleep at night in our room knowing that we are all safe.
- Where is your favourite place to be at City Plaza?
Here (Amani’s family’s room). It’s our own space where we can be in privacy. Having Wifi means we can contact our family and the children can watch cartoons, like we’re at home.
- What are your hopes for your future?
I hope for a good life for me and my family. After everything, after our time living through war, that’s all I want.
Of course I want to work too (Amani is a hairdresser). I want to be independent, to support our family and most of all to contribute to a society and to feel useful.
- What will you miss about City Plaza?
The union between all the nationalities here. I will miss the solidarity between everyone at City Plaza.
- How do you participate in the self-organisation of City Plaza?
I organise a lot in the kitchen and I also work in a team sorting and distributing clothing to everyone in the building.
- Have you learnt any words here in the languages of refugees from other countries?
I know the basics in Farsi. The language I’ve learnt the best here (smiles) is sign language, I spend a lot of my day communicating with gestures, you can really say a lot without words.
- What is your best memory so far at City Plaza?
The best moment (thinks for a while)… There have been many great moments! There was one beautiful evening a few months ago. We put our children to bed and when they were asleep we went downstairs. A group of us who have become close friends here at City Plaza sat together for hours. We drank coffee and listened to music. We listened to the Syrian song ‘وطني’ (‘My Country’), we shared a beautiful, beautiful moment.
- City Plaza is not supported by NGOs and is supported entirely by donations from around the world . What does solidarity mean to you?
Solidarity means a lot to everyone here. For me, personally and emotionally, City Plaza staying open is so most important. It means that at least there are some children who are in a safe place and not in the camps.
Detail of the day:
Today my friends have come to visit us. It’s so lovely to be able to welcome guests into our own space. I love that we are able to have friends visit us at City Plaza, to drink tea together and share all that we have here.
City Plaza relies entirely on solidarity and donations from around the world. To keep this project going City Plaza needs your support: www.youcaring.com/keepcityplazaopen