The Short Version
Zac can barely afford his rent, let alone the costs of moving. As a volunteer teacher living on a tiny stipend, I cannot help him much. Zac may have additional difficulties and costs related to his Syrian nationality. Your contributions will be put toward airfare, visas, medical checkups, legal paperwork, and incidentals. Any leftover funds will go to Zac's parents and younger siblings, who fled Syria for Lebanon last year and while much safer than before, are struggling to make ends meet.
The Long Version
About 4 years ago, Zac travelled to Lebanon to compete in Arabs Got Talent. His family told him not to come home, because it was too dangerous. The Syrian Civil War split his hometown in half and engulfed it in a mess of checkpoints, street battles, and bombings.
Zac cannot return to Syria. Government agents have already come looking to re-draft him into military service, where he would be forced to fight against his neighbors. Or, opposition forces might force him to fight. ISIS would probably take one look at his tattoos and behead him. If either the government or extremists heard his music, they would punish him for his independent thought.
Lebanon has all but closed its borders to Syrians, and life here for even the 'lucky ones' is very difficult. Zac has no right to work, and no legal protections. Despite dogged perseverence, he can barely pay rent and feed himself, let alone pursue his calling. Given the ever-changing nature of Lebanese policy toward the Syrian crisis, he could lose his right to reside here at the drop of a hat. It's time to leave!
A Final Note
Zac and I look forward to simple things: the ability to live peacefully, earn an honest living, and see our loved ones happy and secure. We are incredibly grateful for your support, and we hope to someday pay it forward through community programming and raising awareness of the Syrian refugee crisis. If you'd like to learn more about this issue, start here.
- Samina Hossain
- DeeDee Kartstein
- Drew Albert
- Xander Zebrose
- laura silvia battaglia
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