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Success Story of

Fidan Zeino

Fidan escaped poverty in Syria in 2013. She came to Turkey from the northwestern Syrian region of Afrin with a family of seven. “Because life there was very difficult: no water, no electricity, no jobs”.

She is now 21, Kurdish, and the third one of five children. “I completed secondary school and studied Turkish for five months. When I was working here in Istanbul I practised my Turkish. During one year I had three jobs: in two textile factories and in one factory for plastic products before I started to work here in this textile factory”.

She didn’t have a work permit. They payed her only 1,000 Turkish Lira per month, one third less than the legal monthly minimum wage. “I had to work for twelve hours a day, six days a week”.

Only her and one of her brothers have a job. “My father and other brothers worked in construction. Now they are unemployed at home, because work in construction stopped. They don’t want to work in a factory as they don’t understand Turkish. A friend of my brother found a job in this textile factory through United Work. So I also registered a United Work for a training course”.

She became a quality controller and put shirts, T-shirts, sweat shirts, in plastic bags. “I love my job. It is ten hours per day, five days a week. On Saturdays I work too. That’s overtime and pays extra. I get paid the minimum wage of TL 2020. With the extras I can make TL 2500,- per month. My brother, who has back problems and works as a security guard, earns TL 1300,-. So for our whole family we have TL 3800. The rent for our apartment is TL 500. So we have to live from TL 3300,- (540 euro) per month with 7 persons. The youngest is 3 years. My sister of 12 goes to a Turkish school”.

She is working in her current job now for seven months. “I would like to learn more”, she says. “I feel much more comfortable here than in my former jobs. It is legal. Because of United Work I got a work permit for one year. This company produces jeans, T-shirts, sweat shirts, jackets, shirts. They sell to international and local  fast fashion retailers like Zara, Street One, Koton, Mavi, LC Waikiki. On Sundays I relax, go to the park or a shopping mall with my parents and brothers and sisters.”