The Kurdistan Barbing Saloon, located in the heart of Erbil has two employees: one of them is Imad Abdulkarim Ahmed, who loathes the reality that his barbing shop and home in Adhra, Syria were destroyed in the country’s ongoing conflict.
One year ago Imad, his five siblings and parents, fled the crisis in Syria to Erbil. “Now I am the bread winner of my family. When we first arrived, I had to do odd jobs – it was difficult because I do not have technical skills for lots of the jobs that are out there. Back home I did barbing for my living and this is what I know best. Thanks to the opportunity I found through DRC to be reconnected with the barbing trade again,” Imad explains.
Earning 700 to 900 USD monthly is not a bad wage for a barber in Erbil. Imad says he commits all of his income to family expenses, which includes 230 USD for rental for a two bed-room apartment. The rest is spent on food and basic household items.
“If I did not have this job, I don’t know how my family would have survived. It’s expensive to live in this place. With just the UN registration document and no residence permit, we cannot move out of Erbil,” says Imad. Questioned about his plans for the future, Imad hopes to return home in Syria, reopen his barbing saloon and establish a restaurant business as well.
From September 2013 to present, funding from the UNHCR has enabled DRC to place 329 Syrian refugees and vulnerable host community members into jobs in Erbil alone. This number excluding other assistance provided for small business development through training and grants. With job placement and small business opportunities, DRC is helping Syrian refugees and vulnerable members of the hosting communities overcome the challenges of displacement and live above the fray.
Imad Abdulkarim Ahmed