Victoria YOUSSIF ESTAN is 67 years old. With her husband Elia Yasir Fareed ESTAN, 71, they found a temporary safe haven in DEKWANA district of Beirut. They are Chaldean refugees from Iraq. The NGO CARITAS helped them at the beginning and provided them with food. The family pays a monthly rent of 200 US dollars. They have two adult children and a grandson living in a very small accommodation outside Beirut. Their son work as a janitor for $ 400 a month.
Fleeing Erbil 15 minutes before the arrival of ISIS
They left Iraq in 2014 on their own. Living in Batnaya, they had to flee for Erbil where they stayed 4 months. Forced into exile, they left everything behind. They had to flee Erbil again fifteen minutes before the arrival of ISIS.
Elia is disabled and is confined to a wheelchair. The priest pays a visit to them every week. The couple lives in the single and tiny room of the apartment. Before I arrived to their place, they carefully folded pillows and blankets onto the makeshift sofa that they also use as a bed. Victoria bubbles of energy. She brings me a coffee with a big smile. She helps her husband to move from the wheelchair to the sofa.
The difficult quest for a new homeland
The family does not want to go back to Iraq. Like many, they want to go to Australia where they have relatives. They say they do not want to go to France because they have no relatives there.
Sitting on the sofa, Elia shyly puts on her little Iraqi woolen cap. He and his wife are sadly smiling at my camera.
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