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Feature: Syrian refugees in Lebanon enter local labor market

09-02-2012 06:58 BJT Special Report:Crisis in Syria |

BEKAA, Lebanon, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- Syrian refugees in Lebanon began knocking on the doors of local labor market on the eve of the winter season and the academic year.

Um Alaa Haifa Al Khatib, who left the Baba Amro neighborhood of Syria's central province of Homs 8 months ago along with her seven children, is taking shelter in Lebanon's old Marj el Zouhour public school.

"We are lucky as we were not ordered to evacuate the school that has been replaced by a new one," said the 45-year-old Syrian women.

She added "We will spend the winter here as the situation in Syria is not promising... My husband is a certified accountant and has found a job in a school even if the pay is one U.S. dollar per hour, but it is better than nothing."

The Syrian woman was joyful when residents of Marj el Zouhour offered her a sewing machine, with which she earned sometimes 25 dollars per day.

Mohsen Kojok, 55-year-old Syrian man from Aleppo, told Xinhua that he was lucky to work at a construction site as a foreman for a daily wage of 20 dollars.

He added that "humanitarian agencies support us monthly with cooking oil, sugar, rice, milk and canned food that are enough for 10 days."

Salma Hamid, 35, said that she worked as a home maid with a daily wage of 13 dollars which "I spent to help supporting my younger brothers whom we are trying to enroll in a public school on the eve of the academic year."

Another two Syrian nationals taking shelter in Lebanon told Xinhua they managed to be employed to clean streets and collect garbage.

"Each of us 13 dollars per day, but the winter is coming and we will have to buy heating oil for 20 dollars daily, not to mention our daily needs," they said.

"What we are asking for is an end to the violence in our country, so we would return and live in a small tent above the ruins of our home," said Ali Al Mohammad, one of the two dustmen.

Activists told Xinhua many of the refugees have started looking for jobs in Lebanon and the humanitarian aid agencies are helping them to secure job opportunity.

Though there are no official statistics, about 8 to 12 percent of the registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon have already joined local labor market, they added.


Editor:Bai Yang |Source: Xinhua

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