Syrian families resort to small projects amid hardship

Photo used for illustration purposes only

SWEIDA – With the worsening living conditions in Syria as a result of the tough economic situation, people started resorting to creating small businesses to help make ends meet, reported Xinhua news agency.

In Sweida province in southern Syria, several people are trying to make a difference at a time when the wages are far from sufficing the growing demands of the families amid soaring prices.

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Um Atef Shoufi, a 57-year-old woman, has felt the pinch of the worsening situation when her husband’s salary has become not enough to cover for their needs.

She thought a lot about ways to help in such a troubled time and figured out a way to help by doing what she is best at doing.

The woman started making dried fruits, jams, and other traditional food items and sold them to the people.

The project, which started three years ago, has become a business for the entire family.

“I didn’t expect this project to be so successful and to become our main source of income,” she told Xinhua.

Shoufi now works long hours to maintain quality products, saying the small project has made them financially stabilised.

Her son Atef, 23, said he helps his mom in his free time when he is not in the university.

For him, helping his mother in her work is good for him. Otherwise, he would have been in a tougher situation and would have searched for a job elsewhere to sustain himself.

“I learned how to make some food items and if it wasn’t for this job, I might have been working hard elsewhere,” he said.

For Medyan Isber, a 45-year-old father of three, working as a carpenter in Lebanon was not paying off well, particularly with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, so he decided to come back home months ago.

Living in the southern countryside of Sweida, the man felt how difficult it is to secure the needs of his family.

He also thought a lot to finally decide to make cheese and yogurt on his own and sell his products to make a living.

At first, the project was small but after a while, he gained more customers and started making good profits.

Additionally, the man also brings the food he makes to his family so he does not have to buy from outside vendors.

“My wife and I are working on this project and thankfully we have a lot of customers now. We make a relatively good living,” he said.

In the Jaramana suburb of the capital Damascus, Um Alaa Zein is stronger than her husband as cancer has put him unemployed at home.

The 38-year-old woman bought a sewing machine and started working from home, making outfits and clothes, and sold them through cloth shops.

“Work gives a positive value to the human beings particularly if it was for putting food on the table,” she said.

The woman started with fixing clothes and later became a designer, who has a good number of customers.

She encouraged every family to think outside the box and come up with solutions to overcome the economic hardship in the country.

“I urge every family to think of a project that could achieve self-reliance first and later to make profits,” she said.

The tough economic situation in Syria has been the result of the Western sanctions as well as the long-standing war, which led to a depreciation in the value of the Syrian pounds and sent prices skyrocketing.

A day earlier, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ordered a new income tax exemption aimed at helping the low-incomers amid the tough economic situation.

But despite such steps, the people are caught in the middle of the economic crisis.

Recently, the government doubled the price of regular fuel and lifted the subsidies on high-octane fuel after a shortage crisis that pushed people to wait for seven hours or more to get a refill at the gas stations over the past couple of months.

Also, long queues of people are seen every day in front of bakeries, waiting to get subsidised bread in what appeared to be another shortage of wheat.

Now as the winter is approaching, the people are concerned about the availability of heating fuel.

–BERNAMA