Disabled Syrian refugees struggle to make a living in Turkey

EYEAFRICA TV: Ankara, Turkey: Many Syrian refugees left their homes and went to Turkey to escape the war. But some of them who were injured and disabled on their way to Turkey are facing with difficulties to go on living.
Hani Kasem once worked as a carpenter in Syria and was able to support his family of five with his dexterous hands. But all of that was taken away by the war.
“I suffered so much in the war that cost me my left arm and left eye. I have facial and nasal deformities as well as other scars on my legs,” said Kasem.
“The accident affected my respiratory system. With the stuffy nose, I can only breathe from my mouth. That makes it difficult for me to eat as I need to eat and breathe at the same time from my mouth. The disability makes it hard for me to find a job,” he said.
Kasem said he couldn’t remember how many times he was rejected in job applications. His family barely makes ends meet through the help of relatives and friends, local government and public welfare organizations. He is still waiting for the funding of the last round of surgery.
As many Syrian refugees with disabilities like Kasem need help in Turkey, the “Side by Side” Syrian Special Needs Organization was founded for this cause, and its founder Feras Alfawal is also a disabled person.
“I’m from Syria. My disability came from the war. I lost my leg. I came here to Turkey to start again from the beginning. But there’s no way like a refugee and like a disabled person to enroll again in life easily,” said Alfawal.
He was not defeated by the numerous difficulties faced in life. Instead, he took the initiative to start this organization to help more people like him.
Since the organization was founded last year, its 16 volunteers have processed more than 1,000 cases involving Syrian refugees in need with the help of local government and charity groups.
“I found also lots of people just suffering from the same problem, maybe suffering much more than me. It’s so hard now to find an association specialized with disability, and disabled refugees. Then we come up with the idea of starting an organization working with refugees, the disabled one,” said Alfawal.

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