For Mona, a Syrian refugee living in Turkey, the lullaby is a window into a caregiver’s soul. Mona’s  three sons left their home in Syria to avoid being drafted into a war that has killed more than half a million people since 2011. A year after her last son left, Mona followed and crossed into Turkey.
Five years after the crossing, her eldest son Mahmoud, and his wife, had a baby, Zaid. Mona became a grandmother.

‘There is no one more precious than your child, until you meet your grandchild,’ she says.

Mona describes how bedtime is fraught with risk for refugees. When Zaid would wake up crying in the middle of the night, their Turkish neighbours would threaten to call the police. The same complaint saw the previous tenants evicted. In love and fear, Mona would hold Zaid all night long, and she sang.

‘I placed you in the loft to sleep, but I feared the snake.’

 Explore the chapters 🌙 


II. Breathtaking Air

IV. Sign Language

VI. Song of the Sea

DisplacedI. Displaced from Home

III. Community Cradle

V. Physical Distance

A Lullaby Library

with support from
National Geographic Society
The Tim Hetherington Trust

Photography Hannah Reyes Morales
Audio Rupert Compston
Animations Robertino Zambrano / Kapwa Studios