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When children have to provide: Syrian refugees struggle in Jordan

A lack of schools and teachers in Jordan along with hurdles preventing Syrian adults from working have led to Syrian refugee children increasingly working illegally to support their families.
A Syrian child refugee sells canned food and snacks in her small grocery shop in front of her tent, at the Al Zaatri refugee camp, in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria, October 4, 2012. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed (JORDAN - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR38SAK

AMMAN, Jordan — Only 13 years old, Mahmoud, a Syrian refugee, works six days a week ironing curtains in Mafraq, Jordan. His family has limited financial means, so Mahmoud and his brother must work to pay for the household’s living expenses. “I would like to go back to school to have a better future. It is very hard,” Mahmoud told Al-Monitor.

Mahmoud remembers when he used to attend school and play with his friends in Syria, but now he is socially isolated, toiling 11 hours a day at work. Although tragic, Mahmoud's story is becoming increasingly common among Syrian refugees in Jordan.

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