Hemen Jaff, a 39-year-old Iraqi refugee, is carefully studying the laser-cutting machine he operates at a technical company on the Greek island of Kos.
He is making important adjustments to the design of packaging, which will be used for local wine and olive oil. His wife, Sharaban, 30, who also helps at the company, is embroidering a kitten onto a children’s t-shirt using an industrial sewing machine. Beta Jaff, the couple’s four-year-old daughter is buzzing around and singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in perfect English.
The Jaff family found work at the company just three months after arriving on the island in a rickety boat to seek asylum in June 2018. In Greece, asylum-seekers are allowed access to legal employment, if they can find a job, which is often an insurmountable obstacle, especially for recent arrivals.
Hemen, who was a civil engineer in Iraq, set out to find a job as soon as the family arrived on the island. He wanted to provide for his family and not to depend solely on humanitarian aid.
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