Dreams of a Syrian child die every day the sun comes up in the Bekaa Valley, on Syria’s border with Lebanon.
This 11 -year-old boy doesn’t have the luxury of dreaming.
His father was able to bring him, his mother, and his siblings to escape the violence in Syria, ...
but when dad went back to move the rest of the family’s things, a missile hit the family home and buried his father alive.
The boy is now working at a car shop,
doing manual labor,
so he and his family can eat
and pay rent in a refugee camp.
He came to the Syrian American Medical Society- SAMS clinic in the Bekaa Valley because he has wax in his ears and he’s losing his hearing.
He is one of almost 200,000 children in Lebanon forced into child labor.
Children as young as 5-years old are using dangerous machinery in factories, and working in fields under the hot Middle East sun. UNICEF says they become victims of beatings and abuse by their bosses.
Children are cheap labor. And they can’t fight back.
Refugee children in Lebanon work 12 hours a day, every day. They make $2 to $6 a day on average. Only 50 cents an hour an hour.
The owner of Smart Phones Mobile and Accessories in a Zgharta, Lebanon says he pays a 10-year-old Syrian child $19 a week to sell lottery tickets and run errands. He’d have to pay an adult upto $400 to do the same job.
The children who work often have physical wounds that hide the emotional scars from seeing loved ones shot, killed, blown to bits.
Abed Al Allah was 6 years old when an Airstrike killed his three cousins after an airstrike. He helped load the bodies into a car, dig a grave, and bury them.
UNICEF says half a million of the million or so Syrian refugees are children are not getting any emotional help. They live with their piercing pain, their insidious traumas and invasive thoughts.
Child labor is illegal in Lebanon, but the law is not enforced. Syrian parents don’t feel like they have a choice but to send their kids to work.
Lebanese law doesn’t allow Syrians to work in low paying jobs because they don’t want foreigners to take away jobs from Lebanese citizens. Lebanese shop owners say they can’t find Lebanese people to take those jobs.
Another day of work comes and goes on this border from the children of war.
They often feel only darkness,
no light at the end of the tunnel.
Syrian American Medical Society- SAMS
Lindsey L Smith