Syrians now fear an even greater hike in the prices of essential goods, as they no longer can keep up with the inflated consumer costs which are directly linked to the rise in the dollar exchange rate. The high prices have led to a decline in purchasing power and a lower standard of living for many Syrian families, coinciding with a sharp fall in the value of the local currency as the US dollar soars against the Syrian pound.
Touring the markets of Damascus, our correspondent noted the price of a school uniform now ranges between 4-7,000 Syrian pounds, depending on fabric quality and design. In other shops, the price reached 8,000 pounds, while the price of a school bag ranges between 2,500-5,000 SYP, and the price of a pair of shoes sits anywhere from 3-5,000 SYP.
Abu Raed, a resident of Damascus, complained about the sharp rise in consumer prices, criticizing the lack of government interference and its inability to influence the high dollar exchange rate.
"Prices are rising more than once a day, and when the dollar exchange rate drops, prices stay the same! People are tired and can barely afford to buy bread. The living situation is in a steady decline, and no one is satisfied with what is happening in the country, we want this war to end," Abu Raed told al-Souria.
While Um Adel, a widow who lost her husband a year ago, said: "I'm going to sell some household furniture to cover this year's expenses for clothes and bags for the children."
Many Syrian families are trying to overcome the school uniform problems by resorting to older methods more fitting to the current crisis; repairing uniforms and handing them down to the younger siblings instead of buying new uniforms, for example.
"Fatima" was able to secure a uniform for her daughter by swapping with her neighbor, after a group of local women opened a small shop to swap clothes between families. A man from the neighborhood provided a sum of money to buy sewing machines for some women, who have decided to work at low prices to repair second hand uniforms and sew new uniforms, to be sold at low prices to poor families. Despite its small size, the shop covers the needs of many families.
With the continuation of the war, many schools in Syria remain out of service after being targeted by Assad's forces with heavy weapons. Many other schools have also been converted into military bases, and with the absence of the family breadwinner, child labor has significantly increased, further preventing children from attending classes.
"My father died in the bombing of our house, and so I had to leave school and work in a restaurant to earn our living," Diaa told our reporter. Despite his small size, Diaa works late into the night to improve the living conditions of his family.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer