Unintended consequences of a teachers' strike

Nine-year-old becomes Sulaymaniyah’s youngest kebab chef

KALAR, December 22 —  In Kalar, southwest of Sulaymaniyah city, nine-year-old Chinar Zana seizes an unusual opportunity arising from the ongoing teachers’ strike. With schools shuttered due to protests over delayed salaries, Chinar chooses to help her father, Zana Abdullah, in his kebab shop, dedicating sometimes as much as thirteen hours each day to mastering the art of grilling.

Backdrop of the strike
The teachers’ strike in Sulaymaniyah has been ongoing for months, stemming from unresolved salary issues with the regional government. As a result, students have stopped going to classes and are looking for  a halt in education, compelling students like Jenar to find alternative activities.

“I asked my father if I could work with him, and he agreed,” Chinar told 964. Her day begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 9 p.m, involving meticulous preparation of meat and serving customers.

“Instead of playing in the streets, I prefer her to be with me,” her father says, noting that Chinar has become a familiar face to the customers, who often inquire about her.

A future in Culinary Arts
Zana envisions a skilled culinary future for his daughter, impressed by her rapid mastery of grilling techniques. “She’s involved in every step, from chopping to serving. She has become adept at managing the restaurant,” he says with pride.