SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

November 30, 2013

Syrian refugee children work, provide

(Continued)

In the early afternoon, pickup trucks drive up the informal settlements, stopping at each one and dropping off the children. Some of the girls jumped off a truck, running to their makeshift homes and giggling like they’ve just come from a day at school.

Fatima, a 25-year-old refugee from a village near Aleppo, supports her three children, her elderly parents and her four younger siblings by working the fields for 4 dollars a day in the Bekaa. She takes along her 14-year-old mentally challenged cousin to help.

That money helps cover the annual rent of $530 for the shack they live in near Zahleh.

“I am ashamed of taking handouts and when I work, I feel like a slave,” Fatima said. “People shout orders at me and I listen to them because if I don’t, they will take the tools away and won’t take us on the truck the next day.”

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