Moustafa is a shy and quiet young boy, but he has many dreams for his future and for his country, Syria. For long he suffered in silence, we wanted to give him an opportunity to speak. “Every day I carry trays of sweets back and forth from one place to another. I stand on my feet all day waiting for my boss’s orders, but it’s better than working at the shoe shop with my father. They yelled at me and hit me there!” Moustafa told us this while trying to hide his rough hands from the camera. He was in pain, and one of his fingers was swollen. “Working at the shoe shop is very hard. We make leather shoes using only our hands and some metal tools. I almost broke my finger while trying to hammer a nail into a shoe,” he said. Moustafa is a fourteen-year old boy from Al-Ard Al-Hamra neighborhood in Aleppo but he now lives in Gaziantep, Turkey. His family had to flee Syria due to the continuous bombardment and shelling of their city. “I work from 8:00 am to 6:30 pm six days a week, they even want me to work on Sundays, but I don’t go,” Moustafa said. He gets paid only 10 Turkish Liras a day, that is, less than 5 U.S. dollars. The minimum wage in the U.S. is 7.75 per hour. Moustafa wishes to go back to Aleppo, he wants to go to school to learn and to become an architect one day, but back in Syria teachers used to hit their students. “They didn’t teach us anything… they only hit us… I want to go to school only if they teach and not hit us. But here I have to work. My father can’t put me in school,” Moustafa said. His family cannot afford to pay for his education.
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