Inam Alchaib was born in 1969, in Damascus, Syria, and is a high school graduate. Today she lives in Uskudar, Istanbul, with her husband and two children and serves in the field of the mobile food sector. In May 2020, she participated in the “Şirketim” project to formalize her business activities.
Inam’s immigration journey has been longer and more toilsome comparing the other Syrian refugees. Until 2012 she lived in Damascus, Syria. However, when the Syrian civil war started, she and her family decided to emigrate and passed to Egypt. After a short period of time, a coup in Egypt took place, so many people were arrested. Therefore, they had to leave Egypt, heading to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In UAE, she stayed for a year and tried to find a job to maintain her life. However, she could not succeed in finding a job, and the cost of living was remarkably high. For this reason, in 2014, she thought Turkey would be a better choice for her life and entered Turkey through Ataturk Airport as a family except for her son, who passed to Germany.
Before her latest initiative, she had any prior experience in any field. She did work in neither Syria nor in UAE because there was no deed to work, and there were children to take care of. She decided to start cooking at home to sell businesses after they have arrived in Turkey because her husband was too old and he could not find a job. Indeed her husband worked in an international energy company mainly specialized in the petrochemical industry in Dubai, and due to the nature of the business, many foreigners used to visit his business. While cooking for her husband, they realized that others are also impressed by her cooking. Having this experience, when circumstances forced her to work, she has started cooking at home as a commercial activity. In the beginning, she was selling to the Arab nationals mere merely; however, later, she surprisingly realized that there is a demand among Turkish people for her cooking and has decided to expand her business. Although her business practice is open for informal working and could pursue her activities without registration, she wanted to expand her business; therefore, to be able to achieve this target, she decided to formalize her activities. Without necessary formalization, she would not be able to make out an invoice, and she would not be able to work with large-scale companies that demanding invoices. She was aware of the necessity of registrations; however, her Turkish was not adequate to practice required activities.
Before the project, she did not know about United Work and GIZ. She heard about United Work from her daughter’s friend, and she called the organization to learn about the details of the project. After her call, one of the field officers paid a visit to her workplace, explained the project and project partners in detail. In this way, she decided that it would contribute to her business remarkably and participate in the project. After, participation she received a tax plate, registered to the chamber, and obtained a work permit; since it is not a necessary registration for home-office businesses, she did not apply for the municipality license. Besides, all registration activities were realized with the support of the project employees; in this way, she did not face any problems. She declares that this project contributed her significantly, now she can work without any hesitation. She can offer her products with no fears since her company has become entirely formal. Now with the help of the project, she can reach more people and companies, and she has gained a good reputation for her food in the area. Besides, the adverse financial impact of the pandemic, albeit not entirely, was healed with the financial support within the scope of the project.
In the future, if someone asks what Inam’s dream is, the answer would be to have her own cuisine. She plans to have an extensive cuisine in which she can distribute her foods to many stores, and she does not mind having a small number of tables. Nevertheless, today, she still challenges with a lack of machinery and equipment due to the small size of her place and financial issue due to the pandemic. In order to grow her business, she needs more support, and she wants to improve her language in order to communicate well with others. In social terms, she has no problems with anyone, she has a good reputation in her neighborhood, and her neighbors treat her in the right way also. She does not think that they will go back to Syria anymore, their children got used to this country, and now they learn Turkish. Therefore, going back to Syria is impossible, her daughter speaks Turkish very well, and no one can tell that she is Syrian. To build a better life, she has a dream of buying a house in Turkey and has a dream of getting Turkish citizenship.