“I will never give up”
Mr. Fawaz Al-Da’if, 70 years from Syria
“I have worked for more than forty years as a tractor driver in a small village in Syria. I spent most of my days taking care of the land and with my family and neighbours. We lived a simple life, satisfied with what we had. But as I am well aware of nothing lasts for ever. In 2013, my family and I were forced to flee to Jordan following war events and unstable conditions that took place in Syria. I was about 65 years old at the time”. This is how Mr. Fawaz began his story.
Five years have passed since I have been in Jordan and I still have no connections, relatives or even friends. Therefore, I am somehow, isolated and lonely. It is hard to live with long free time when you cannot do anything or even practice day-to-day activities that you used to do in the past; such as plowing the earth, caring for animals and connecting with friends. In addition to the psychological stress I have suffered from what we have experienced, I lost two sons during the war. I am currently living with my wife, my single daughter and my other son -who suffers from severe physical and mental disability. As mentioned before, I couldn’t practice any activity that I used to do in the past; even connecting with neighbours here is very limited because we feel like strangers and we do not know anyone.
I have tried several times to apply for jobs in different fields, but I have always been rejected because of my age, and I have often received sarcastic comments from employers for the same reason. No one realizes that even at the age of 70-year-old I still want to work and nothing prevents me from pursuing my goal.
Eventually, I received an invitation to participate in a series of activities under the project of livelihood activities for elderly Jordanians and Syrian refugees in East Amman, implemented by the International Orthodox Christian Charity and funded by HelpAge International in Jordan. In fact, these meetings had a great impact on my life and improving my psychological condition. I also met other Jordanians facing difficulties -that I did not know about before, and after I got to know the members of the group and heard about their problems and challenges; I believed that such groups are exactly what we need to relieve the psychological stress and try together to find new ways to live our lives in a more positive and productive way; so I decided to continue attending these sessions to share experiences and start making new relationships and participate more in social activities.
Through these sessions, we learned about the rights of elderly people and got to know more about the life skills that we could practice at this stage. I am also very optimistic about finding a suitable job opportunity through the following period of time; because the sessions also include raising awareness about the types of jobs that suits the elderly, and how to apply for a new job and where to look for such opportunities. I think that such activities are important for many elderly people to continue their paths in lives and provide them with the positive energy that they need.
I am very motivated to continue trying to improve my family's situation; to have a better life quality and to find the right job opportunity and regardless of the difficulties or challenge I face; I will never give up.”