Ahmad, a Syrian Palestinian in Jordan, has experienced being seen as a ‘refugee’ twice in his young life. Before the war broke out, he and his family had been living in Syria for decades since the 1948 Palestinian exodus. When the situation became too dangerous in 2013, Ahmad fled to Jordan.
A new beginning
At 26 he was forced to start all over again in a new country. He knew he needed to build up his network again in order to find work and connect with people, so he started volunteering and attending local events in his new community.
Through these events Ahmad was informed about the SPARK Internship Programme. “I decided to try my luck”, he said. He was offered several options but chose an internship at the ITTIHAD Insulating Glass Company. At first he assisted in the warehouse, shipping out the treated glass panels to various clients across the Middle East. Despite being younger than many of the workers, he picked up many management skills.
Intern to employee
Within months, Alaa, the HR Supervisor at ITTIHAD, noticed that Ahmad possessed certain promising qualities that the company could use. After his internship, Alaa offered Ahmad a full-time position within the management team.
Ahmad explained that the first 4 months in his job were challenging; being younger than the other members of staff meant it was sometimes difficult to be seen as an manager. However, he says: “the experience helped me on a personal level, as well as professional. I learned how to communicate, to be confident, it helped me to integrate with the community outside work and learn about this culture, which is a little bit different than in Syria.”
No longer a newcomer
Ahmad has faced many struggles but he’s proven that despite the burdens of nationality, given an opportunity, young people like him can excel in their work, become financially independent and contribute their host communities immensely. “I advise anyone coming from an area with conflict to start their lives over, to start in the right way by trying to integrate in the society, by learning the language, get involved in volunteering or work. Then you’ll be able to continue your life in the best way.”