'Early on, Najlaa brought her two sons, Hussein and Amr, with her to the protests, and rallied other women to join her. What began as a few women marching down the streets in their traditional chadors quickly evolved into an energized movement, with women chanting slogans and waving placards denouncing Assad.
When she arrived in Aleppo, she didn't stop supporting the revolution. Najlaa worked to help injured people and made signs for the rebels. Soon, her work forced her to flee again, this time to Azaz, where some of her relatives lived. Then her 9-year-old son, Amr, was injured by one of the many improvised bombs that rained down on the city as forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad battled the Free Syrian Army. Najlaa knew she had to flee. She arrived in Turkey with her two sons and the clothes on their backs.
Najlaa has begun to rebuild Syria in Turkey. On a recent day at the center, women in hijabs carefully pulled needles through cloth, making the Syrian revolution’s equivalent of Barbie dolls. “We called her Hajier, first martyr of the revolution,” Najlaa said as she held a doll with a kind face and golden-brown braids made of string.
The achievements of these women are now the only thing that brings her joy, Najlaa said. They also give her hope that someday they will be able to return to a peaceful Syria. “The war will end. Nothing lasts, the war will end, and it will then be clear to women that the more work they put in, the more they will harvest.” '