NOT JUST A STATISTIC: BASHAR

By: Diya Prashantham

Bashar -- from Homs, located in western Syria -- currently lives in Jordan and is father of four. He, like the other 1.7 million Syrians in Jordan, is hastily denied work simply because of his identity. He is part of the statistics, but he is not just a number. He is a father, a friend, a son, and a talented being with much to offer to the Jordanian workforce. However, he is kept from sharing his ample experience and talent that he accumulated over many years of hard work and dedication. It’s not worth anything in Jordan.

Back in Syria, he studied journalism and specialized in political science; he also worked in real estate and trade. Furthermore, he has strong writing skills (given the journalism background) and is a talented storyteller. While he has no trouble and plentiful experience presenting himself to showcase his skills, he is simply not getting the opportunity to do so.

Neither are refugees allowed to work towards a citizenship status, nor are they on a work permit, and therefore, their opportunities are very limited. According to the World Economic Forum, work permits are required for refugees to be employed, and the permits must be sponsored by a national employer. However, because of their lack of documentation and status in the country, the Syrians are not able to receive work permits. This is only the case because of the extremely unfortunate circumstances in Syria. No matter how much skill they have to offer that could benefit the workforce, their status as a Syrian refugee eliminates all opportunities they have to obtain a sustainable job that they enjoy doing and that they could contribute to. The Syrians in Jordan have no choice but to try again. They are at no fault for having to flee to Jordan, yet they face hardships every day as they are discriminated against, exploited, or simply not considered for a job.

Now, in Jordan, Bashar works 10 hours every day and his life is filled with endless hardships; employment is one of his biggest challenges. In an interview, he stated that only simple jobs, such as working in a factory, are being offered to him and other refugees. Due to this, he is unable to share his experience and skills that could be used well.

When asked about his thoughts on online employment, he stated that the transactions needed would be complicated and difficult to execute due to all of them being monitored; the refugees would be asked where their payment came from. While he has these hesitations, he admitted that he also sees opportunities with online employment.

Despite the adversity he faces, Bashar is resilient and is able to stay optimistic as he continues to search for good work. He states that his family is his biggest support and driving force; they motivate him to keep searching for work in order to support them. Likewise, he receives support from working with Jordan Hattar (the founder of Help4Refugees) and other friends.

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