[Image 1: A little girl in a blue dress and yellow cardigan. Image 2: A little girl in a black cardigan. Image 3: A woman in a black hijab smiling at something offscreen]
Part 16 of a series of posts honoring the Grenfell Tower victims.
The Ibrahim-Hassan family, from the 23rd floor of
Rania Ibrahim and her young daughters Fethia and Hania all died in the fire. Rania broadcast a video on Facebook Live before she died, which her family, including her husband Hassan who was overseas, saw. Two of her neighbors, Isra Ibrahim and Fathia Ahmed, are believed to have sought refuge in her flat that night, as all their bodies were found together.
Rania was born in Egypt, but came to Britain in 2009 to help a sister who had cancer. While there she met her husband, and settled down. She loved England, her friends said, and would use Snapchat to tell all her friends so. She also loved clothes, shopping and cooking – she would happily dispense homemade food to her neighbours and her daughters’ school.
One of Rania’s sisters, Rasha, told the Grenfell inquiry more about her personality:
“She was happiness on earth. No one would sit with Rania and not smile.
Since the time of the incident I hear Rania’s voice all the time. I used to consult her on everything. Whenever I used to get angry she would calm me down.
I still write to her and talk to her even though she’s departed. I miss hearing her voice.”
Five-year-old Fethia wanted to be a teacher when she grew up, her aunt said.
“In kindergarten, Fethia was like a mother to her classmates. She was a leading character. She would care for her classmates, making sure they ate and stayed calm while away from their families during the day. She liked other children.”
Three-year-old Hania was a “little duck,” Rasha said. She loved food and drawing, and hugging her older sister. Her mother was always happy to indulge her, letting her paint furniture with nail varnish even.
Hassan spoke at the Grenfell inquiry, telling the board that “for me, life has fully stopped.” He also spoke of how his wife had always feared the building might catch fire:
She asked me one question – if there is a fire, what do we have to do? I asked one of my friends who had lived there.
When I spoke to my friend I asked him my wife’s question, ‘if there is a fire, what do we have to do?’ and he tells me ‘Hassan, don’t worry, this building is safe – if the flat next to you is on fire then nothing
happens to your flat’.
I come back to my wife and I tell her: ‘Listen love I’m going to leave the flat very nice for you and our two kids, don’t worry’ and she said ‘you know anywhere you go, anywhere that you stay, I’m going to be with you’.
“I think that’s the only mistake I made, bringing them to Grenfell Tower.”
A funeral for the family took place in September 2017, burying Rania, Fethia and Hania together alongside Isra and Fathia. Hundreds of
people attended the service.