woman standing in a kitchen with an engineer from habitat

Finding Laughter Again: Syrian Family's New Life in Jordan

In 2012, Mustafa’s typical day as a cab driver in Syria took an abrupt turn. During a routine exchange with a passenger about the ongoing war, he made a passing jest about a statue of the Syrian president. This offhand remark led to his arrest and brutal imprisonment two days later. Mustafa’s youngest son, seven-year-old Abdel Aziz who has cerebral palsy and shares a deep bond with his father, took to the steps of the officer’s house in protest. His wordless pleas, expressed through heartfelt groans, convinced the officer to release Mustafa. “Abdel Aziz is the angel and blessing of this house,” Mustafa often says, gratitude evident even as he lies in his medical bed.


Following his release, Mustafa, alongside Abdel Aziz, his wife, and two daughters, fled to Jordan, leaving their past and three older sons behind. The war would later claim the lives of two of his sons, and the news of the third’s death in 2021 left Mustafa with a stroke, comatose for weeks, and ultimately unable to work or speak his sons’ names.

“This son’s death broke my back,” he confessed, the weight of his words as heavy as his heart.
— Abdel Aziz
mother and daughter

The family’s small flat in East Amman was a daily reminder of their plight, with Mustafa’s medical bed dominating the living room. The moldy walls, rusted doors and windows, and a dilapidated bathroom posed constant threats to their well-being. Unsafe electrical wiring had even sparked a fire, adding to their hardships.


Iman, Mustafa’s wife, quickly stepped into the role of provider. Emulating Mustafa’s previous work, she collected leftover bread from the neighborhood to sell as animal feed. “The restaurant owners all know me now. I walk for around 5-6 hours each day to collect the bread and bring it back home,” she shared, her resilience shining through. At home, Abdel Aziz’s joyful rolling towards his mother upon her return became a daily ritual. Meanwhile, Hayat, the eldest daughter, made the selfless decision to leave school and care for her brother and father. “It was going to be either me or my younger sister,” Hayat explained, determined to protect her sister’s educational opportunities.

girl with her paintings

In their mission to support families in need, Habitat for Humanity Jordan intervened, turning the Abdullah’s flat from a place of struggle to one of security and comfort. The organization replaced the inadequate fixtures and installed energy-efficient lighting and water-saving taps, reducing the family’s financial burden and improving their quality of life.

“These repairs may seem simple, but they've significantly changed our living conditions. Knowing my family is safe and that we can sleep without fear has made life so much better.”
— Iman

The Abdullahs’ journey is one of courage in the face of adversity and of a family’s love triumphing over the loss. Abdel Aziz’s heroism and Hayat’s sacrifice underscore a story not just of survival, but of the enduring human spirit.