Ismat Kadour is one of the beneficiaries of the “Şirketim” project, participating in June to formalize her business activities. She was born in Homs city in 1963 and holds a master’s degree in petrochemical engineering. Today, she lives in Uskudar, Istanbul, with her child and works in the field of special design school materials, producing designed notebooks and other school-related materials.
Before her emigration, she used to live in Homs. She had a decent life and was a lecturer at the Petrochemical Department of the University of Al-Baath. However, the Syrian civil war has also profoundly influenced her life. When the Syrian civil war started, firstly, she moved to Damascus; after a short period, she moved to Lebanon. When her son decided to move to Turkey, she also thought that it would be better for her and her family. Four months later, after her son’s arrival, she immigrated to Turkey with her mom and younger son. A few months later, her daughter followed them. In the end, the family reunited in Uskudar, Istanbul. However, shortly after, her bigger son decided to head to Europe and immigrated to Norway, her daughter got married, and her mother passed away. Today, only she and her younger son stayed together.
In Turkey, her first initiative has been opening a kindergarten in Fatih. Actually, this was her plan, even in Syria. Although she could not achieve this dream in Syria, she realized in Turkey. She was planning this for years because she knows that there are millions of children who face problems in the Middle East. She has encountered thousands of children with a mental illness. For instance, she met with a girl who suffered from the war, she was hitting the wall with her head, and basically, it was a sign of mental illness. Once this girl started in kindergarten, she saw that she stopped doing it. Therefore, she decided to create new ways to improve the mental abilities of children in need and helping them to forget their past. Opening a kindergarten would be a significant mark of contributing to society. However, unfortunately, she could not obtain a license, and neighbors constantly complained; for this reason, she could not maintain her project and closed the kindergarten. Nevertheless, she did not want to stay distant from children, and she has to earn her living. Therefore, she decided to produce school-related materials in her house.
Prior to the project, she knew about the United Work. Her son found a job in one of the biggest textile retailers with the help of the United Work. However, she did not know about GIZ and the “Şirketim” project. She heard about the project through a friend who already participated in the project. She contacted United Work and asked about the details of the project. After one of the officers of the United Work explained the project and GIZ, she learned about both. Actually, she has significant experience with non-governmental organizations and participated in different projects. However, she thinks that most of them do not have any credibility and most of their actions are a waste of time. Nevertheless, she knew that United Work provides its services differently comparing other organizations. Therefore, followingly, she thought that it would be profitable for her to participate, and it will open a path for improving her business. She immediately wanted to participate. She also mentions that United Work employees have always been respectful and helped her a lot. For this reason, participating in the project has been a great experience. After participating in the project, she completed all necessary registrations except for the municipality license (since it is not a necessity for the home office businesses). She is genuinely grateful for both completing the formalization process and realizing all steps for free.
Before the project, she had a fear of having trouble with related authorities. After completing the necessary registrations, she has become feeling more secure and can work without any pressure or fears from the related authorities. She can imagine expanding her business. She plans to add new products to her portfolio, and she can improve her profit. Besides, she used to have her kindergarten, which does not have any legal entity. However, now, she is the owner of a legal entity in which she can speak in the name of her company, and it has become easier to communicate with others to offer her products.
In the future, she plans to expand her business while receiving more demands for her products. At that time, the current workplace will not be enough anymore, and she will have to rent a larger place, purchase machinery, hire employees to supply this demand. Despite her child’s help, she struggles with marketing issues now. In social aspects, she is an extrovert person; she has many friends and does not face any problems. However, she is also aware that she has to improve her Turkish. Besides, she declares that she has anything left in Syria; she would like to spend the rest of her life in Turkey. Therefore, she would like to get Turkish citizenship. She thinks that receiving citizenship would have a remarkably positive impact on her business and her life in general.