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Success Story of

Ammal Ali Danial

How a Syrian refugee became a sucessful businesswoman

Most shops in the Zia-ul-Hak shopping street in Sultanbeyli, on the Asian outskirts of Istanbul, have names in Arabic. Most clients are Syrian, as are their owners.

Fashion store Masaya (The Evenings) is one of them. When I visited the shop was full of ladies who discussed wedding gowns and sexy lingerie. The ladies love a lot of glitter and glamor, the owner Amal Daniell (37) agrees.

She was born in Aleppo, had little education, was forced to flee her country and became a sucessful businesswoman in Istanbul.

“We fled five years ago. Together with my husband and three children ”. Here in Sultanbeyli, a conservative suburb of Istanbul with 300,000 inhabitants and 20,000 Syrians, they found a safe haven and tried to build a new life.

It wasn’t easy. In a foreign country with a foreign language. “I was in school in Syria until I was nine. I never had a job ”. She was already a mother when she was 19. “Twins first, boys. The following year a daughter. One of my sons has a medical condition, so he has to stay at home. The other one works in a textile factory and speaks Turkish well”.

Amal earned money after she started selling clothes from her home. She was able to save 3,000 euros. Together with her cousin, who also contributed 3,000 euros, they started their own fashion store, specializing in wedding dresses and wedding articles. They also have a spacious beauty salon on the first floor.

“To arrange all Turkish permits, we got help from Abdullah, a young Syrian who works at the office of United Work in our neighborhood,” says Amal.

United Work is a Dutch NGO that, since 2017, helps jobseekers with recruitment, training, work permits and other facilities to find a legal and sustainable job in Turkey.

Amal is happy now. Going back to Syria after the war? “I don’t thinks so”, she says. “I have built up a good business here. I want to stay”.