Nidaa & Mariam

Nidaa & Mariam

Lebanon

Nidaa & Mariam

Nidaa is Lebanese and Mariam is Syrian. They both live in a small village in Akkar, North of Lebanon.

Mariam and Nidaa have been neighbors for 3 years and they quickly became friends. They even consider themselves family. “We have a great friendship. There are no tensions at all because she is Syrian and I am Lebanese, we are like sisters.”

Water scarcity is a big problem in the region and these 2 women had to buy water every week, which put a strain on their already difficult situation. They both have big families and therefore consume a lot of water. “In the winter, we used to buy water at least once a week […]. It used to weigh a lot on us and when you buy water you have to be careful how you use it,” says Nidaa.

Nidaa heard about a rainwater collection system that was being implemented in the region and she applied for it. She now benefits from the new system and doesn’t need to worry about water shortages anymore.

We saved a lot of money thanks to the project. In the winter, we used to buy water at least once a week so now we can save and spend the money on other necessities. - Nidaa

Mariam, however, does not benefit from the project but she is willing to apply for a similar water system at home. “The water expenses are very high,” she explains. “We buy water once a week because we use it a lot.” She lives in a garage with her husband and their 5 children. “My husband doesn’t work so it’s really difficult,” she explains. Mariam’s family receives food assistance, but one of her daughters is sick and in need of medical assistance.

I have a really serious problem with water shortages... I always have to buy water and you know water is the essence of everything it is vital. You need water for drinking, cleaning, showering. - Mariam

Mariam knows that she can count on the support of her friends and neighbours and feels like she is part of the community. “We have many friends here in the region because we’ve been here for a long time,” says Mariam. “I know a lot of people and I am familiar with this region now. As a community, it’s much better.”

© European Union 2019 / Johanna de Tessières