“It is simple; if I don’t work, I cannot survive,” says Ali,* a 14-year-old Syrian refugee in Lebanon.
Ali* fled the war in Syria along with his mother and two brothers. In the years since, he hasn’t been able to keep up his education, yet Ali loves to read.
Ali works at three adjacent small shops, all owned by the same man, Marwan.* From 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. every day, he runs errands and attends to all sorts of requests for customers of the library, exchange office, and charcoal shop.. In return, he earns 160,000 Lebanese pounds (about $104) each month. It’s not nearly enough for a family’s survival.
Ali still finds time to read books he borrows from Marwan’s library, returning them once he finishes.
“I read so that I don’t forget what I learned the last nine years of my life in Syria,” he says. “I refuse to forget what I have learned over the years.”
When asked about his future dreams, Ali smiled.
“I may die tomorrow, or the day after,” he says. “I can’t dream of the future.”
In Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, World Vision helps to meet the needs of refugee children by providing food, water and sanitation, protection, and education.
*Names changed for protection.
Photo ©2014 Patricia Mouamar/World Vision