Making Home Away

So I sat them down and told them: the five of us are here, me, you and your father, wherever the five of us are, that place should be your heaven.
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Current 'Home' Jordan

Sabiha has found a silver lining to camp life:

"My story is a little different. I was the second wife as I have told you. My husband is lazy. Even (now) that I live in a caravan, I feel emotionally better here than I did (in a house) in Syria. My husband was bad (to) me. Now he is better. In Syria he was always with the other wife, tending to her every need. Here, he is better with me.  In Syria, he was only attending to the other wife. I had to take care of everything except food. If I needed anything for the house or kids, I would ask my family for help. But here although we are poor, I feel better."

Although Sabiha finds her life better with her husband in the camps, polygamous marriage can be a complicating factor for asylum seekers in Europe, as EU countries’ refugee policies are often rooted in legal systems that do not recognise marriage to more than one person simultaneously, as this BBC report notes.

Colourful fabrics make a domestic space more homely within a caravan in a Jordanian refugee camp, 2019. Image by Yasmine Shamma


This extract is from an interview conducted by YASMINE SHAMMA during 2019 as part of the British Academy funded ‘Lost and Found: A Digital Archive of Migration, Displacement and Resettlement’  project’s Making Home Away archive.


Current 'Home'


Current 'Home'