CCMP – Success Stories

Matda’s Story:

Matda Boshi is a Syrian newcomer originally from Aleppo. She arrived in Canada in 2016 as a Government Assisted Refugee through the UN.  She is married with three kids. She didn’t work in Syria although she finished the 12 grade in school.

When she first arrived in Canada with her family, the biggest obstacle to her was the language. She used to have difficulties practicing her conversation skills with others as she started English Second Language classes at level III.

In the first week in Canada when she first arrived at the hotel in Downtown Toronto, some of Syrian newcomers introduced her to CultureLink Settlement and Community Services. They told her “this organization is excellent and it takes care of the newly arrived refugees.” She went there and met the staff.  After that, she moved to Scarborough, but she kept in touch and became a participant of CultureLink programs, which increased her self-esteem.

She joined Baraka Bites at CultureLink (a cooking venture program that introduces newcomers to small business initiatives) through another CultureLink program – Suriyat Social for Syrian Women.  Baraka Bites fed straight into her passion for the cooking even though at first, she felt afraid because she never tried to cook and sell outside her house. It was also hard for her because she wasn’t used to work therefore time management was a challenge.  She attended the workshops and trainings and learned how plan, price, label, deal with clients, address the members and how to market the product. All the components of the project helped her to put her foot to the sector of small business and start to depend more on herself. Baraka Bites also played a role in strengthening her English conversation skill, self-worth and helped her to meet the diverse people of Toronto.

Currently, Matda is operating her own small business “Al-Basha” and promoting her work through festivals and events. She aims to leave her mark in Toronto by opening an Aleppo themed restaurant to deliver her country’s culinary culture to others.

She stated: “I’ve dealt with many organizations before, but there is a unique thing about CultureLink .The staff, each of them is always seeking to push you forward. They become happy when you’re happy; I trust CultureLink because they always create programs to support us in all ways. They help humans for being humans with rights.”

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Aisha’s Story:

Aisha is a Government Assisted Refugee GAR; she is from Daraa, Syria. Aisha used to own a shop back at her home and used to sell food; she considers herself to be a businesswoman. She was widowed because of the war, lost her husband in the chaos of violence, and she was wounded. She arrived in Canada in 2016. She has eight children only two of them is here with her in Toronto. Escaping the war, she lived in Jordan for four years.

She joined Baraka Bites program and received her food handling certification through it. Now she’s trying to promote her food business here in Toronto. She started selling at one of the food markets in the city.

She stated that the CultureLink program helped her to find more confidence and hope in her new life in the new country. The Baraka Bites project helped her to believe that she can have successful future in a small business endeavor in Canada.