Ismail

This is Ismail.

He’s 15 years old and his family were left homeless after their house in Syria was damaged in the fighting.

They fled to Turkey, but don’t have enough money to rent an apartment there.

Ismail doesn’t go to school. Instead, he earns what little money he can by working on a farm near Izmir. He spends up to 11 hours a day, 6 days a week, furiously scrubbing vegetables and only gets about $225 a month – just over half of the legal minimum wage.

It’s estimated that around 380,000 Syrian children are trapped in some kind of child labour in Turkey, and Ismail is just one of them.

As an agricultural worker, Ismail doesn’t need a work permit, but most Syrian workers do. Shockingly, many are prevented from getting them by exploitative employers, forcing them to work illegally as the only way to get by.

We hear a lot about Syrians in Europe, but there are actually more Syrians in Turkey than any other country, aside from Syria itself.

Most of these families can only dream of a life in Europe.

So for now, they live in their tents in their makeshift camps, with constant threats of eviction from the police.

In the face of all of this though, they still find moments to just be children, to laugh together over a game of Uno and play with their brothers.

Click here to read more about Ismail.
Click here to volunteer in the camps around Izmir and find out more about our partners there.
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