Fares Ayyub is a 26 year-old English-speaking university graduate in aviation engineering. He's a Syrian from a Christian village that was the focal point of fighting between rebel and regime forces. The story about how the he dug through the ruins of his destroyed home to find the bodies of his mother and brother was featured in the Wall Street Journal. He's still searching for his father, a doctor.
Like many Syrian refugees, Fares paid smugglers to get him to Europe. But he only got as far as Bulgaria before being arrested, detained and sent to a reception center for refugees. As a Christian, he was subjected to continuous harassment by some of the other refugees. When the harassment became intolerable, he opted to leave the reception center, forfeiting the small stipend and shelter offered to Syrian refugees in Bulgaria.
In Bulgaria, asylum seekers are not entitled to work and finding black market work is nearly impossible. Soon he found himself penniless. A Syrian-owned fast food restaurant sometimes gives him a free falafel sandwich. He normally eats just once or twice a day. At the bus station, an illuminated bench in the back of the heavily secured parking lot has become his bed. With winter encroaching, sleeping outdoors is difficult and unsafe.
Fares spends his days sitting at the park, writing his memoirs and poetry in the diary he always carries. He's written and choreographed a dance that tells the story of the war in Syria, which he hopes to make into a film.
I'm trying to raise $500 in order to pay rent for him to share an apartment with other refugees. The initial cost of rent will be $115 and then $70 per month thereafter. My goal is to collect $500 to pay for 6 months rent.
I hope that within 6 months, Fares' request for humanitarian protection will be approved and he will be granted a work permit.
I also hope this is just the first of many fundraisers to help the refugees who have found themselves facing unprecedented difficulties in Bulgaria.