‘I will succeed:’ the displaced Syrian who risks danger each day to keep his business dream aliveWhen he considers the threat of attack walking to attend vocational training in Daraa, southern Syria, Ahmad Sari doesn’t hesitate saying he knew the risk of injury was high. Moving anywhere in hostile territory is fraught with danger. But as the Syrian civil war pushes into its fifth year, the proud 25 year- old has made it his mission to exploit every opportunity to support his family and keep his dream of job success alive. Taking part in the Danih Refugee Council’s maintenance vocational training was the break, he said, he needed.
One of the many to apply for the training, DRC-Syria field staff, said Ahmad’s determination was immediate from the outset.
“Whenever DRC vocational training applicants are interviewed they are always asked the question: what is your motivation for registering for this course? Often applicants respond generally stating they would like to learn how to get a job. Ahmad’s was different. He said he not only wanted to find a job, but to also achieve job success,” one DRC staff member noted.
With funding support from DANIDA, the DRC-Syrian programme has been able to run two advanced vocational training courses for displaced Syrians focusing on computer and mobile maintenance – some of the few current in demand vocations that are providing opportunities for young Syrians to earn a living – out of its Community Center in Darra.
Job opportunities are scarce in the war ravaged nation with unemployment levels rising from 14.9 per cent in 2011 to 57.7 per cent by the end of 2014, when it was reported that there were 3.72 million unemployed persons by the United Nations.
Inspired by the business skills learned during the course, Ahmad has managed to rent a small kiosk and enter into a partnership with a fellow course participant, Amjad.
But it is not just in Daraa where DRC is managing to make an impact. Further north, in Homs, father of three, Hisham Birekdar’s new auto paint business is now making enough money to send his children to school again.
“Before I could not meet even up to 30 per cent of my family’s needs and I had to borrow money and ask for charity,” the 42 year-old who lost everything when he was forced to flee his home of Al Bayada when war hit, said. With a small grant made possible by attending DRC’s ‘Creating Job Opportunities’ programme, Hisham said he now runs a business that generates around USD300 per month and is able to start feeling some security about setting up a stable home after being on the run seeking safety for so long.
“This project gave me the chance to reconnect with my old customers. Thanks to DRC I can now afford to move outside the complex to the industrial area with my tools and clients.“
Launched in March 2014, Hisham’s job training course sought to enable beneficiaries to restore their livelihoods through the provision of materials and equipment needed to kick-start businesses. Some 30 workers have subsequently been employed in these new businesses.
12.2 million Syrians are reported as being conflict-affected and in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, with 7.6 million of those internally displaced, according to United Nation estimates.
Since June 2012, DRC has been working in Syria distributing non-food items, rehabilitating schools and has opened six community centers that provide psycho-social, education and livelihood activities, operating in Damascus, rural Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and Daraa.