"May God help us, my son is dead and he left behind three kids and a wife for me to take care of. My husband is old and fragile, we escaped Syria under the constant heavy fire. What do you want me to do! What can I do, my son went back to get treated for cancer and here we are: either ways he ended up dead, he was killed while coming back... God what am I supposed to do? Our relatives are helping us, they are trying their best but life is hard; all I can say is, "thank God."

This is one of the stories Sammy Hamze and British freelance photographer Ed Thompson helped bring to the public eye in a photo essay about Syrian refugees living in Lebanon.


A photo from the BBC's photo essay on Syrian refugees in Lebanon taken on December 10 in the village of Iqlim al-Kharroub.

The project started in December after Hamze, a graphic and media design student at the University of the Arts London, met Thompson through a university alumni mentoring program. From there, the two went to Lebanon on a mission to capture the plight of Syrian refugees living in Hamze's home village of Iqlim al-Kharroub in Mount Lebanon.

Hamze conducted the interviews while Thompson photographed the subjects. While the photographs were compelling in their own right, Hamze revealed to Beirut.com something even more powerful: drawings by some of the Syrian children he met who were not capable of expressing their feelings through words. "Communication is key to everything and everyone. And talking wasn't always our communication medium. I asked some kids to draw what they were feeling at some point because that too helped us get the picture through their eyes."


Drawing by a girl named Nahed, a Syrian refugee living in Lebanon.

The drawing above was given to Hamze by Nahed, a 7-year-old child. "Her story," Hamze tells Beirut.com, "is really simple: she misses her home and friends and school. She wishes to go back home. It's just tragic to see children like this at a very young age."


Nahed, a Syrian refugee living in Lebanon, drew this picture for Hamze.

"Seeing the innocent lives in these kinds of situations is something that I will never forget and I want to make sure the world knows about it," Hamze told Beirut.com. Hamze is now back in London but says he plans on returning to Lebanon soon to continue the project.


Another drawing, taken by a Syrian refugee named Fida, was given to Hamze during his time in the village.

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