The worst thing is not being able to afford food. With agriculture vouchers I will buy seeds, says Syrian Abdul-Karim

The worst thing is not being able to afford food. With agriculture vouchers I will buy seeds, says Syrian Abdul-Karim

Syrian Abdul-Karim (40) graduated from Aleppo University with a bachelor’s degree in Arabic literature. Nevertheless, he is unable to work as a teacher because there is no support for the school in his small village in South Idlib countryside. To support his wife and five children, Abdul-Karim has no other choice than to work as a farmer on his piece of land.

Almost everyone in Abdul-Karim’s village works in farming. However, unfavorable weather conditions, low productivity, high prices for agriculture goods and closed export opportunities make farming a difficult and yet unprofitable job.

In South Idlib countryside where most people depend on agriculture as the main source of income, People in Need, supported by Alliance2015 partner Welthungerhilfe, provides the most vulnerable farmers with agriculture vouchers. The vouchers are worth 60 USD and enable farmers to buy the essentials for their work.

How are you affected by the current crisis?

I was teaching Arabic for few years, but I stopped back in 2011. I had to find another job to be able to provide support to my large family, three out of my five children are in school. For a few months I worked as a volunteer for a very low salary. Then I had to work in agriculture and try to make a living out of it. Unfortunately, farming was affected by the crisis significantly. Farming is not sustainable and cannot be considered as a main source of income. I used to take loans from the government banks, planted crops in the summer and paid the loans back after harvest. However, in the last five years profits have decreased and there was no support provided to farmers. The cost of irrigation increased and I could not afford it anymore.

What are some of the greatest challenges in your daily life?

The worst thing is not being able to afford basics such as food, clothes and school supplies. The prices for medicine and medical cases are high and when one of my family members is sick, it’s also a burden. The security situation is not good as well. The school sometimes closes and it means the children are not learning.

How do you benefit from the services provided by Welthungerhilfe and People in Need?

This is the first time in six years we received some support from a humanitarian organization. Thank God I was selected to receive agriculture vouchers from People in Need. I will buy wheat seeds because I hope wheat will grow without much irrigation.

What are your fears and hopes for the future?

Despite the fact that the security situation is bad and life is hard now, I am still optimistic and I think things will get better soon. I hope the situation will improve, peace will prevail and displaced families will be able to come back to their villages and restore their normal lives.

Author: Sari Haj Jneid, People in Need Syria Communication Officer