A chance encounter with a Turkish aid worker changed the fate of 11-year-old Kefe Hussein, a girl from Syria's al-Rai. Two years after she lost trace of her family during a Daesh attack in the northern Syrian town, the girl found them at a hospital in the Turkish border town of Kilis.
The lives of the family of five changed when Daesh bombed their house in early 2016. The young girl was unaware of the bombing as she was out on the street playing with her friends. She was shocked to find her house razed to the ground and her family nowhere to be seen. Neighbors told her that her parents and two siblings were taken to a hospital in Turkey for treatment but that was all she knew about them.
The desperate girl, left alone in the ruined city which was liberated from Daesh that same year by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Turkish troops, searched everywhere she could hoping they had returned from Turkey - but to no avail. Resilient despite hunger and thirst, she walked for miles, sometimes days, to find them in other towns. It was on one of these days that she felt tired and sat on a rock in front of what little was left of her old home that she met a worker from Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) which was distributing shoes for children in the town.
When the worker asked her why she sat alone with such a sad face, she told him her story. AFAD then started work to trace her family and finally located them in a state-run hospital in Kilis. Kefe's parents and siblings were still under treatment at the hospital due to the severe injuries they sustained and Turkish officials brought the young girl to the hospital recently. In dramatic moments, she rejoined her family in a hospital room. "I thought I wouldn't find you again, please don't leave me," the girl told them in tears.
"A bomb separated us. I waited for them for months. I knew they were in Turkey but I didn't know how I can go there. I never lost hope. I went to the border, I waited in front of our house but they never showed up," she said. "Turkey healed my family and it is a gift from them to have them back."