28 Oct 2021
By: Begüm Başaran

"It was so helpful that I was able to afford 80% of the requisite equipment and raw materials, and I eventually established my own workshop! For me, this is more than work! This project is made my life better in Turkey” these are the words of Omar*. 

Omar is a carpenter, passionate about designing smart furniture. He immigrated to Turkey in 2015 from Damascus, Syria. He resettled to Şanlıurfa with his family, hoping to rebuild a new life as a migrant. He is 40 years old and has two children; their safety is so important for Omar, he is happy that his kids are not in danger anymore and far away from conflict and the voices of bombs.  

He enjoys the career that he is pursuing. He had his own workshop in Syria before his journey to Turkey. He started to work in this field at the early ages of his life, “I was working with a master in my teenager years and after finishing high school I decided to operate my place. I was trusting in my skills” he explained. Omar has an entrepreneurial spirit, he believes that if someone has a passion for something, somehow success will find them. He knew that he would manage to do what he is passionate about even in the most challenging times.  

In 2015, when he was forced to leave his home, he also left behind his workshop, where he reflected his passion and has been a source of income for him for years. “It wasn't easy to leave everything behind where is much of your life formed. This uncertainty does not make things easier, especially when you have a family with you.” 

Omar said “The worse part, I was there while all my equipment and products were stolen, and my workshop plundered. I witnessed all of it. I don’t know how to express myself about that issue, you are feeling helpless and just accepting the situation, in the end, it is a war." 

He started to work with different furniture workshops when he arrived in Turkey, but he was still dreaming about establishing his place again. He heard about IOM's Cash Grant Programme and became one of the qualified beneficiaries.  

Today, Omar wants to expand and develop his business, create a brand and line of furniture, employ more people. To formulate strategies, find inspiration and get feedback, he spends time on social media. Still, like many others, the COVID-19 pandemic has harmed his business. "The market is under pressure, capacity, employees, the entire business. No matter how tough the situation we live in, we must adjust. I'm trying to remain positive" he explained. 

He mentioned that they have a good relationship with Turkish society in Şanlıurfa, especially in daily life; however, most of his customers are Syrians. He said, “When the issue comes to the business, there is a kind of networking and marketing problem that we could not solve." 

Omar has emphasized the importance of resilience and self-confidence, “Every choice is up to you in life. Try to recreate it over and over again without giving up what you had passioned about; then you will achieve and feel better.” 


*Names in this story have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.