Nothing will stop Hamza
In 2017, Hamza and his family were forced to flee Syria because of the ongoing civil war and significant threat to their safety and security. Hamza, his parents and four younger siblings – two brothers and two sisters – fled to Lebanon where they found refuge in the Baalbek Valley. Life was very difficult. Having left everything behind, Hamza and his family had to start from scratch, with barely enough to cover their daily needs. Fortunately, Hamza was able to collaborate with a Syrian painter and together they opened a furniture painting shop.
Running a shop officially is extremely difficult and costly for Syrian refugees living in Lebanon, due to the high costs involved in registering a company. On top of the annual $9,000 to cover lawyer and auditor fees, Syrians are faced with an additional $3,350 registration fee.
After a year of operating, Hamza and his business partner were forced to close the shop, leaving them both without an income. The rest of Hamza’s family had been unable to find work due to very high rates of unemployment, and so they again, found themselves in a desperate situation.
Fortunately, soon after the shop was closed Hamza learned about training programmes being offered by EAA’s programme, Reach Out To Asia, and their partner, the Makzhoumi Foundation. He was able to enrol in two trainings; the first focused on business skills and the second on jewelry repair. Together, these trainings equipped him with the business skills and knowledge – including financial management, negotiating and business planning – to set up his own small jewelry repair business.
Hamza has been working for the past few months, visiting his client’s houses rather than working through a shop to help keep his costs down. He is seeing demand for his business and growing a strong client base. Through the trainings, he gained valuable skills and knowledge that have helped him develop and focus on building a sustainable business.