Life after Lebanon: Syrian refugee ready for new life in New Zealand

Posted on: April 13th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(BEIRUT) — In 2014, Rami, a Syrian refugee, was working behind a desk in the back of a garage, helping his father fix tires in Lebanon to raise money for their family.

He’d lost his home and had left his school behind in Syria, where his mother worked as a teacher, to escape the fighting.

ABC News’ David Muir met Rami and several other children after visiting the Syrian-Lebanon border. At the time, Rami told Muir that he missed “everything” about home.

Four years later, the “World News Tonight” anchor and team drove through Beirut on Friday in search of Rami.

His father, Mohammad, said Rami, now 16, was outside, playing soccer. Mohammad was still fixing tires. His wife had not yet returned to teaching.

Mohammad said the tire shop was doing better, but his family’s situation had gotten worse. He said that before escaping to Lebanon, he’d never worked in an auto-repair shop or fixed tires. He said he used to work for the government and had proudly made and sold chocolates.

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But, he had news: The family’s resettlement applications had been approved for New Zealand. They are waiting for final word.

Mohammad said that at night, Rami often looked up images of New Zealand on Google via his laptop.

On the streets of Beirut, there are other child refugees, selling tissues and gum to bring money home to their families.

Sidra, 12, from Aleppo, Syria, told Muir that her home had been destroyed but she still hoped to return one day.

Muir finally caught up with Rami, who showed him the courtyard and building where so many refugees now live.

Rami, who once dreamed of home, now thinks of New Zealand.

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