By Kenan Irtak
ISTANBUL (AA) - In his native Syria, Nadir Ibrahim ran two businesses and enjoyed the trappings of a middle-class lifestyle.
Having fled the civil war four years ago, he now gets by collecting rubbish for recycling, earning up to 100 Turkish liras ($34) a day.
He left his home country with a large amount of cash but hotel bills and a number of failed business ventures in Turkey, which saw his prospective partners make off with his money, mean Nadir now trawls the streets of Istanbul as one of Turkey’s legion of rubbish collectors.
“I have a wife and two children - eight-year-old Yusuf and five-year-old Meryem,” he told Anadolu Agency. “I ran away from the war and brought my family here. When I got my money taken, my wife went to Lebanon to be near her father.
“I ended up all alone without any money and I had to work. I came here and I make a living by collecting paper.”
A speaker of French, English, Italian and Turkish as well as his native Arabic, Nadir’s story echoes that of refugees the world over - giving up a profitable career to flee violence and, finding himself unable to utilize his work skills in his adopted home, taking any employment he can find to survive.
His working day begins early in the morning. He hauls a large white sack on a metal trolley over his shoulders as he searches for paper, cardboard and plastic bottles among the refuse of Istanbul’s streets and at the end of the day sleeps in a makeshift bed in the yard where he deposits his daily haul.
Nadir keeps himself going with dreams of setting up a business in the city when he is able to move his assets from Syria - spurning the idea of moving on to Europe.
Turkey is home to 2.8 million Syrian refugees and has spent more than $8 billion euros on providing for them since the civil war began in 2011.