A Dream Coming True
Ibrahim, 40, from Aleppo, owned a small restaurant in Syria before the war broke out. His restaurant business provided him a sufficient income to support his wife and three children. He always dreamt of owning a big restaurant where he could serve a variety of meals. As he was beginning to expand his business, the war broke out and he lost everything.
One night, a missile hit his restaurant destroying his only source of income within minutes. The situation became dangerous for him and his family so he had no choice but to seek refuge in Gaziantep, Turkey in 2014.
He was unemployed for 4 months and he had to borrow money to cover his family’s basic needs. Ibrahim suffered a herniated disk injury whilst fleeing from Syria and this medical condition prevented him from doing work that required a lot of physical energy. Everything seemed hopeless to him.
After getting encouragement from his family, he decided to borrow a large sum of money to open a small restaurant in Gaziantep. The restaurant soon became popular within his community and he started to become more financially independent. As his business grew, he faced more challenges which required him to have more financial resources. He didn’t have a fridge and couldn’t afford buying the equipment he needed for his restaurant to meet the demand of his customers.
In 2018, IOM approached Ibrahim and informed him about the Quick Impact Grants Project under the Livelihoods Programme, which targeted refugees and migrants to give them the tools they needed to open their own businesses. He applied for the grant asking for the equipment he needed to increase his productivity. Through the Livelihoods Programme, IOM managed to provide him with a fridge, tables and tools for him to expand and sustain his business. “The project helped me a lot in my business and eased some of the stress and the frustration I used to feel,” explained an excited Ibrahim.
The success of his restaurant attracted one of his relatives to invest in the further expansion of the restaurant, making it one of the biggest restaurants in the community. “It was a dream coming true,” said Ibrahim. “I always wanted to run a big a restaurant and I finally have the chance to do that. I started from scratch with something small and now I am living my dream. This change is a gift from God,” he added.
Ibrahim wants his children to be ambitious as. “I feel proud when I see my son and daughter have big dreams like I did. My son wants to be a doctor and my daughter wants to be a teacher. I want to work hard to be a good example for them and help them make their dreams come true as well.”