“My mental health has improved and I feel now that I can give again"


“My mental health has improved and I feel now that I can give again"


Ms. Aisheh Khalil Al-Khalil, 67 years old from Syria


Ms. Aisheh Khalil Al-Khalil, 67 years old, used to work in a supermarket she owned with her children, which was the family’s source of livelihood at the time she, her husband and their children lived in Syria. “The supermarket was where I spent most of my time, and I had a lot of connections and acquaintances,” says Ms. Aisheh.

“10 years ago, my circumstances changed drastically; the war broke in Syria and we had to flee the country as a result of the crisis after having spent so long in the siege. During the siege, we were subjected to a lot of psychological distress, but the most difficult things we had to endure were the lack of food and the price hike. At that point, we decided to leave Syria and seek refuge in Jordan, where I was separated from most of my sons on the Syrian border; some of whom I hear from, and some I don't know anything about until now.


It wasn’t easy for me to adapt to all the changes that took place. Leaving my country, getting separated from my children and seeing them get arrested and taking refuge in a new place. We have neither money nor a home after having left our home, our source of livelihood and all our friends and family.

I had many friends in Syria, but now I’m only in touch with one friend back home. I also communicate with my children from time to time through social media, whenever I can.

I had a lot of free time. I felt so bored and lonely as I spent my time thinking about my children and a way to make money to be able to get on with our life, and every day would end with me crying and putting things in God’s hands. That was until a team of volunteers in the city of Zarqa, in one of the programs of the Institute for Family Health, which is funded by HelpAge International, visited me at home and explained the purpose of the program and the services they provide. They took my information and filled them out, and said that they will be in touch with me for health and psychological follow-up.

A medical team from the organization visited me and followed up on my health. I started with physical therapy sessions. Thank God, I am much better now; my back is less sore, and I feel better every day. I also started attending psychological support sessions and got to meet a group of older people. For me, the psychological support sessions were a new experience on all levels. They made me wait eagerly for the day of the session so I can wake up early and prepare myself to go, while before I used to sleep throughout the afternoon and spend the rest of the day thinking and crying.

“My mental health has improved and I now feel now that I can give again” because of the support, advice and education that we receive during the support and awareness sessions and the various activities, which I consider as leisure activities in addition to helping us meet new people that have become part of the circle of acquaintances, even if we just meet for a short period of time every once in a while. Moreover, I can now speak up and share my problems and concerns, and overcome my vulnerability and go home with a better mood and a renewed energy.”

Aisheh concluded the conversation with a message to the new generation: to seek education until the last day of their lives and not to limit education and hard work to a certain age, because she did not expect to learn all these new things at the age of 67. She also pointed out at the end of the conversation that she would like these sessions to continue for older people, considering their importance and the extent of benefit they can bring to them psychologically and physically, and that they become permanent and not just temporary.

The creation of this platform was possible through the support of German Humanitarian Assistance, Aktion Deutschland Hilft and NAK-KArITATIV.