AFP/File | Between January and the end of July, 602,759 displaced Syrians returned to their homes in Aleppo, many of them citing an improved economic and security situation in the areas they had fled from, the International Organization for Migration
CAIRO - 29 MAY 2019: According to The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), approximately 5 million Syrians have sought refuge across the Middle East and North Africa due to the ongoing Syrian Civil War since 2012.
Egypt hosts 132,281 registered refugees and Abdallah Bashir’s story is a testament to how refugees can subdue tough circumstances and find success in their new country by utilizing the professional skills they had back home.
Bashir fled Syria after the Syrian Civil War began in 2012 and sought refuge in Egypt for what he thought would be a short period of time.
"After a while it was clear that we had to work," he said. Bashir left behind a successful family owned sweet making and was forced to begin a new journey in Cairo. "Seeking asylum was not a choice," he said. Bashir added that when the war is over, he will return back home despite all his success abroad because he has a country to return to.
Bashir had to adapt to the Egyptian people's taste buds and took a while to gather information and money. He officially opened Sweets of Damascus in October 2013 in Giza.
The shop grew over the past several years and Bashir and his brother Mohamed were able to buy another store in order to fulfill the demands of their customers. Their shops produce a wide assortment of traditional Syrian and Egyptian sweets including konafa, basboosa,gullash and many other sweets.
Refugees can often find it difficult to access the formal job market in Egypt; therefore many of them rely on their limited capital to startup their own business. The UNHCR helps some of the eligible refugees with training, small-loans and job placements. During the first half of 2018, over 220 individuals were assisted in their job hunting by the UNHCR.
Despite success stories such as Abdallah Bashir, refugees can find it very difficult to integrate into a new society and to get accustomed to a new culture. To find out more on how you can help refugees, please visit the UNHCR website: