'When I step into the kitchen, I feel so happy'
Syrian refugee creates a new path in Jordan
Fareeha fled to Jordan in 2012. To cover her family’s basic needs, she started her own business
I fled to Jordan from Homs in 2012 with my husband and five children. We stayed with my sister who had been living in Jordan for 30 years until we found an apartment of our own. I have not yet encountered an unkind neighbor in Jordan, and we were welcomed like old friends rather than newcomers. However, we had lost everything in Syria, and starting a new life in another country is never easy.
In 2013, my friends told me to register with CARE because the organization is known to support women like me who want to take care of their families. They gave me emergency cash assistance and I thought that this would be it; but they called me to attend a cooking course in 2016 which helped me a lot get over my nervous breakdown after I left Syria. I started to cook and tried to sell to my neighbors and friends, but it was not enough to cover the basic needs of my children. In Syria, my husband was the main breadwinner and provided everything we ever needed. I do not really like to talk about this, but my husband fell sick because of the two times he got detained. When he came back home he had become a stranger. He lost so much weight I barely recognized him. He suffered from heart problems. This is mainly why I had no other choice but to look for opportunities to make money and provide for my family.
Thankfully, I was able to attend a CARE workshop about Small Business Development. I enrolled because I wanted to learn how to become a successful business owner. After the workshop, I received a grant from CARE to start my own business. I bought a new stove, refrigerator, meat grinder, microwave, and food processor. I used to borrow most of this equipment, but that was not necessary anymore. Now I can supply my customers with ease, and I am hoping to expand my project and hire an assistant especially during Ramadan which is the busiest month.
I really learnt a lot from the workshop because I never worked back in Syria. I look for recipes on YouTube, I printed business cards, and when I step into the kitchen, I feel so happy. I really enjoy cooking and making desserts, but I hate washing the dishes.
I never thought that I would be a business owner, especially because I am actually quite shy. I am a different woman now. I am very grateful to everyone who helped, and maybe one day we will be able to repay CARE for their kindness, when we go back to Syria and rebuild our homes.