Mohammed

19/04/16

Mohammed was working as a marketing manager for a veterinary supplies company near Aleppo but a delivery from Damascus was robbed by anti-govt forces and the company decided deliveries were too dangerous. He lost his job.

He and his wife then spent two and a half years in Syria unable to work and survived on savings living in fear for their lives and that of their baby daughter. Occupation of his city alternated between the army and anti-government forces eight times during that time with all the conflict that brings.

Before their money ran out, the three of them travelled to Turkey and he spent just over 2 years doing any job he could for money. But like many Syrians there, life is very, very hard. He would be paid 300 dollars a month working 6 days a week, 12 hours a day. A Turkish could expect to get more than double that. They spent months trying to find somewhere to live and eventually found a studio flat costing 300 dollars a month — exactly what he earnt — so his wife also had to work. For 250 dollars a month. To begin with, they also had to pay someone 100 dollars a month to look after their young daughter but to save the money, began taking her to their work.

Despairing of this life for his daughter, they made the journey from Turkey to Lesbos in Greece. But it took 7 attempts to cross, costing $1,300. The 6 previous attempts failed because they got caught by the police, turned back by the coastguard or were let down by their boat supplier. Even on their successful attempt, the coastguard tried to stop them by beating them with poles and threatening them.

From Lesbos, they travelled to Athens and tried to cross the Macedonian border but by that time it had been closed so now he, his wife and his 4 year old daughter are in a refugee camp. Still trying for a better life.