Najia saved a photo of her, her husband and their daughter. It's the last photo that was taken while they were still safe in Syria.

Najia, 30, thinks about her family in Syria all the time. But she had to flee, for the sake of her children. She's scared that they will be forced to move back to Syria. This is her story.

I worked as an English teacher in Syria and lived with my family in Aleppo. Everything was just fine before the war began.

But life became difficult when the war began. They bombed the region we lived in every day, we were lucky that our house wasn't hit. Neither I nor the kids were happy and I could not work anymore. I was worried every day, there was no safety there.

We had to go, for the sake of the children, so they wouldn't get hurt.

In August 2014, we decided to flee. They bombed a nearby building and 60 people died. It felt like our life also ended that day. I said: No, I won't stay in this situation anymore. We had to go, for the sake of the children, so they wouldn't get hurt.

Najia, her husband and her children went on a fishing boat to Italy.

We went to Turkey first. From there we went on a fishing boat to Italy. We were 250 people on the boat and 50 were children. The boat trip took 13 days. Although we had food and water we couldn't eat, because we threw up so often.

It was a very difficult experience, we thought we would die there in the ocean. But at the same time, we thought it's better to die once in the sea then to die several times a day in the war of Syria. That's how it felt.

Perhaps it would be better if I died with my family, rather than living a good life here in Sweden.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to fleeing. I thrive in Sweden. But there are many days when I feel bad about the fact that I still have family in Syria. They might die there, in the war. I am fine, but my family is not. Perhaps it would be better if I died with my family, rather than living a good life here in Sweden.

But I think of my children, everything I do is for them. If we had stayed in Syria maybe in a few years they would have said: No, we don't forgive you for making us stay.

But now we are in Sweden. It's a great country that respects people. In Syria, people are worth nothing right now. One can die on the street or be bombed in one's home. People have no value there now.

Then he laughed and said: Yes, this is Sweden!

When we came to Sweden on November 7th in 2014, I didn't know if we had made it. I approached a man and he said that we were here. I said we came from Syria and that we were looking for Sweden. Then he laughed and said: Yes, this is Sweden! We felt safe at last. We were not afraid of the police or of the war, we were happy.

Now we live in Jönköping. I gave birth to my third child here in Sweden and am now on maternity leave. We really enjoy it here because we live in the city. We are close to the supermarket and the health center, and we know many nice people here. These are all good things when you have three children.

Most of all I miss my family in Syria. If they were here, I don't even know if I would miss anything from there. I pray that they are okay​.

What I worry about is being forced to move back to Syria. We want to stay here, but if we are not welcome anymore maybe we will have to go back.

All Stories