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Hussein Jaza was full of fear when he climbed into the nine-metre rubber dinghy that was to take him and 59 other refugees across the Mediterranean from Turkey to Greece. He was well aware that the two boats that had left the day before had not reached their destination.
One case was all he had on him when he fled from Iran to Germany, via Turkey and Greece. Today, the 21-year-old handles at least 4 tonnes of clothes every day so that they can be worn by others elsewhere
Ever since he was a small child, Hussein has wanted to study Medicine. Which was why he moved from Syria to Iran to take his high school leaving exams. According to Iranian law, however, Syrians living in the country are not permitted to learn a medical profession. Hussein thought long and hard about applying for a visa to study abroad but was unable to fulfil all the conditions living in Iran. What’s more, he was unable to return to Syria as his home had been destroyed. In the end, he felt he had no choice but to flee and take refuge in a country where he would be safe. On 09 December 2015, he left Iran and reached Germany just four days later.
Today, Hussein works at RE Textil Deutschland GmbH in Polch, a fully owned REMONDIS subsidiary. Every day, he handles at least four tonnes of discarded clothing. He packs the sorted clothes – no matter whether they be T-shirts, trousers or shirts – into large 25kg bags, sews them up and then loads them onto the trucks one by one. The high consumption rate in Germany produces large volumes of discarded clothing. Some of the bags from Polch make their way to second-hand shops. The majority of the clothes, however, are not suitable for the German market. These materials are sent to threshold and developing countries to provide them with affordable clothing. By doing this work, Hussein is also making an important contribution towards conserving our planet’s natural resources and protecting the environment. On average, approx. 2,500 litres of water are needed to produce just one T-shirt. Looking at the number of T-shirts Hussein handles, he alone is saving 40 million litres of water a day.
of water would be needed to produce the clothes that Hussein handles every day
In addition, he is helping to reduce land consumption as less cotton is needed. Hussein’s ecological footprint is pretty good when all these factors are taken into account. He grinned when he heard this, a little embarrassed. He hadn’t realised the environmental benefits of the job when he began – his primary concern has been to earn money so he can finance his university studies. “That’s fair enough but he has fitted into our team perfectly. He is so determined and focused and really well organised as well,” said Manfred Frey, commercial manager at RE Textil Deutschland GmbH. Ideally, he would like to study in Hamburg or Heidelberg but he has got a while to go yet before he can do this. First of all, he needs to improve his German to pass the B2 level exams. Once he has done that, he can then apply to take part in a preparatory course at university, the next step towards studying Medicine. Hussein would like to stay in Germany and hopes eventually to be given a permanent residence permit. His command of the German language and his job at RE Textil give him hope for the future. The way he is promoting sustainability with his hard work at RE Textil is already unbeatable.