Never Give up on Your Dreams
Nizip is a small town in Gaziantep province, Turkey with limited facilities for businesses to succeed. Osama, a Syrian migrant who fled the war and settled in Nizip, is one of the few business owners who is running a successful small business. Located next to other Turkish owned shops that sell car parts, his car electronics shop is always a hive of activity.
Osama’s passion for electronics began when he was an apprentice in his uncle’s automobile repair garage in Aleppo, Syria. He was impressed by the world of cars and electronics and started his first training when he was a teenager and never stopped learning. At a young age, he was able to open his shop, make profits and earn a good reputation in his neighborhood in Aleppo. Everything seemed perfect until the war broke out in 2012 and he had to flee to save his life.
He arrived in Nizip, where he worked in a factory and learned Turkish. He was hard working and his personality and skills were admired by his supervisor and colleagues. In 2017, Osama decided to open his own car electronics shop using the money he had been saving up.
Starting off was very difficult and getting people to know about his business was also an uphill challenge. “To begin with I was able to buy only basic tools, but I did not let this stand in my way,” he says. “With the limited tools I began to introduce myself to the surrounding Turkish car maintenance shops to offer my services. You cannot make your way if you are not proactive and let people notice you,” Osama added.
Despite his efforts, he was still not able to fully operate his business because he could not afford the machines he needed. Only a few customers came to his shop, but he never lost hope and kept working hard hoping for better days to come.
One day, he heard from the chamber of commerce that IOM was providing e-voucher cards for people from both Turkish and migrant communities to buy the necessary tools they needed for their businesses. He immediately applied for the grant, which was then approved a month later. The grant enabled Osama to buy the machines he needed to boost his productivity.
Osama’s reputation as being a good car electrician began to spread and customers started to recommend his services to other patrons. During the rise of his business Osama, made sure that he sourced all of his spare parts from the neighboring car parts shops so as to also boost their businesses. He also began exchanging experiences with the Turkish shop owners as they sought his advice on different electrical matters.
Osama, understands how fortunate he is to have a thriving business in a small town like Nizip, and wants to give back to the community by providing free car electronics training to young people who are willing to learn.
“I feel optimistic about the future. This country has given me a safe life and a place where I kicked off again and I want to pay it back by giving what I have.”
Story & Photo © IOM 2019/ Nadine Al Lahham