Mohammad, from depression to a new life ambition
Homs Governorate has experienced fierce hostilities since the beginning of the crisis, which resulted in massive damage to buildings and infrastructure, and significant reduction in the delivery of basic and social services. Approximately 699,000 people from host families, returnees, IDPs and local communities are in need for humanitarian assistance. Many of the local residents have suffered from significant losses in their livelihoods due to destruction and vandalism of factories and stores especially in the commercial center of Homs. This has further exacerbated unemployment rate.
Mohammad was one of those affected people who suffered from tremendous losses shortly after the outbreak of the crisis. He had to flee with his family from their small house in Al-Bayadah to a shelter in Hashem Al-Atasi school, where his father died from a heart attack. “My Father was a street vendor, and I used to help him financially by working at a furniture and carpentry workshop. After his death, I found myself the sole breadwinner of a family of four members with no job and no home”
Mohammad accumulated debts as it was nearly impossible for him to find a job, particularly without a school certificate. He suffered from hunger, cold and all forms of misery. “I had to leave school” he said, adding “My mother was too sick, and my little brothers and sisters were suffering from poor living conditions at the shelter, I even thought of committing suicide but to whom shall I leave my family?”
wageIn order to restore livelihoods in Homs and prevent negative coping mechanisms, UNDP in partnership with a local NGO are implementing a project to revive the manufacture of traditional sweets and provide job opportunities to affected IDPs and host community members.
Mohammad was one of the beneficiaries who joined the project from its early beginning, working eight hours a day; he was finally able to provide medication and basic needs to his family. “I was so desperate until I found this job that changed my entire life. I saw other workers with common concerns and problems working hard to survive and cope with the negative effects of this crisis.” He said. Adding with a smile on his face: “I can never forget the first wage I earned; it has saved me from destitution and humiliation and helped me to provide a decent life for my family.”
After working for a short period in this project, Mohammad saved a small portion of his wages and signed up for educational courses. He is planning to return to school next semester.