Sultan* went to Save the Children for help, and he was not to be let down.
Sultan is on the bus, looking out the window down on the pavement that he always used as a point of sale for his pack of tissues and chewing gum. He is no more heading to work, but to school.
“I used to watch children board the bus. I have finally joined them.’’
It was an idea born out of desperation that rejuvenated Sultan’s future. The 11-year-old went to Save the Children’s offices and asked for help to be able to stop going to work and go to school instead.
The response, provided by the Case Management team at Save the Children, helped Sultan’s mother to find an income and secure a place for Sultan in a Non-Formal Education programme.
“He changed his life with his own hands,’’ says Josette Kassouf, Save the Children’s Case Worker. “It was not random. He knew about Save the Children and that we were there to help him.’’
Sultan’s moment of triumph finally arrived.
“I told mom this was the last time I would go to work. The tissues weren’t sold out on that day so I donated them to people who had helped me in the past.
"The next day at school, the teacher asked me to write a line once, but I wrote it twice.’’
Sultan believes there are other children who are forced to work. But he also says that their destiny is in their hands.
His message is straightforward.
“To children like me: stop selling gum and go to school. This is your future.’’
*Names changed for protection purposes.
Who is Sultan?
Sultan used to sell tissues and chewing gum on the street to support his family. He spent hours on end walking around towns, and would only return back home when there were no more cars or passers-by.
Sultan’s calls were heeded by Save the Children’s Case Management team. Supported by the US Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, immediate cash relief was provided so his three sisters could get the medication they needed. His mother Raghda* was also helped to find a temporary job while looking for new opportunities.