Sumia Atto


Sumia’s family have have had to drastically alter their lifestyles to cope with the devastation and tragedy caused by the Syrian crisis.

When the conflict broke out, Sumia, her three sons, two grandaughters, and husband fled to Aleppo for security reasons – one of her sons was a soldier and she feared for his safety.

Sumia and family 2

As they arrived in the city, Sumia and her family were stopped outside their house by the militia. They spoke to her husband, a taxi driver, and urged him to join the frontlines and fight with them. He refused: he did not want to be a part of the violence. His only cares lay with the protection and support of his family.

The next evening, Sumia’s husband did not come home. She began by searching the hospitals across the city. She tragically found him dead and slumped disrespectfully in a corner. She later got news that the militia had shot her husband while he was driving. The day after, she saw the son of the man who shot her husband driving their family car. The conflict caused destruction, fear, food insecurity and desperation.


Living here during the fighting, we had no means to stay alive. We couldn’t afford bread. I had to go and get rotten bread from the street to feed the children.

- Sumia

Now, after the death of their father, her sons have to work in a plastics factory instead of going to school. Their fingers are burnt from the machinery. They had no choice but to abandon their education to work – they need to earn money so their family can survive.

SCIAF are working with partners on the ground supplying people with food, essentials, and medical care. We are also helping locals rebuild their homes by repairing damaged buildings. Sumia is very grateful for the positive changes made by our partners. 

Keep your thoughts and prayers with the Syrian people during their country's political turmoil.