Story of Bashir
My name is Bashir, I fled Syria after the conflict began in 2012. I sought refuge in Egypt for what I thought would only be for a short time. After a while it was clear that we had to start to work as I would be here long-term. I had left behind a successfully owned sweet making business, and had to start all over again in Cairo. Seeking asylum was not a choice. When the war is over, I will return back home despite my success here.
I had to adapt the Egyptian people’s taste buds, and it took a while to gather information and money. But, I officially opened ‘Sweets of Damascus’ in October 2013 in Giza. My shop grew over the next several years, and I was able with my brother to buy another store in order to fulfil the demands of my customers. Our shops produced a wide assortment of Syrian and Egyptian sweets, including Konafa, Basboosa, and Gullash, amongst others.
It can be difficult to access the formal job market in Egypt, so I had to rely on limited capital to start up my own business. But, organisations like the UNHCR sometimes give some refugees training, small-loans and job placements. But of course, this is the minority.