30 days for refugees – Day 17

One thing a refugee in your community will need is a way to earn a living. They may have been a well respected and highly skilled professional in their country, but they also may find that none of their experience or skills are recognised now.

Some decide to try something completely new, using skills they gained before.

Mohammed Alftih was a businessman with decades of experience behind him in Syria, printing T-shirts that were exported, mostly to Europe. When he fled Syria with his family, and finally was resettled in Peterborough, Canada, he didn’t know where to start. But his wife, Randa, was becoming famed locally for the delicious food she cooked for family and friends. So, together with a friend Mohammed made at the mosque, Kenzu Abdellah, they decided to set up a business of their own, with the Oasis Mediterranean Grill, known as OMG.

Randa Alftih pictured in the restaurant she now runs with her husband, Mohammed, in Peterborough, Canada. “When we arrived the sponsors tasted my food and they always said it’s so good,” says Randa, “So we started thinking to make it into a business.” 

It has proved to be very popular among locals, who love Randa’s cooking, and it has given Mohammed and Randa a sustainable way to make a living.

Look into businesses in your local community that have been started up by refugees and support them. If they have a Facebook page, you can follow what they’re doing and promote it to your own networks. You’ll be helping a local business, and a new member of your community, to thrive.