Please describe yourself generally, what is your name? Where were you born? How old are you? What is your educational status?
My name is Khalid Kadi Rihan, I am from Hama city and I work in food trade.
When did you enter Turkey and from which country? Where did you live before you came to Turkey?
I came to Turkey with my younger brother in 2016.
Should we talk a little bit about your work his-tory and your current job? Did you work before you came to Turkey? What kind of jobs did you have before you came to Turkey?
Yes, when I was in Hama, we had a market selling food which was a family business with my father.
Where do you live now? Whom do you live with?
I am living with my brother near the market.
Did you have any previous jobs in Turkey before your current job? If yes, what kind of job(s)? How did you find work? Please elaborate
When I moved to Turkey, I worked in many sectors. The work here was so hard and I couldn’t handle it. That is the main reason why I started my business.
What was the reason behind setting up your own business? When did you start it? How did you decide to do this kind of business? Did you have any entrepreneurial experience or is it your first experience to run your own business?
The main reason I started thinking to establish my own business was that I found working in Turkey is hard. After I worked in many sectors, I started to save money from my salary. I had already some money from Syria, so after two and a half years(now) I was able to open my mini-market(Hama Market).And as I told you before, I have the same experience because we had the same kind of markets back in Syria with our family.
So, is there is a big demand here for the Syrian food that you sell?
Yes, because the Syrian’s population here is quite high.
What kind of difficulties did you have while preparing the documents for your market?
I did not at all. I just went to the nearest United Work office which is close to the market and met with Mr. Rahmi. Afterward, I talked to him about my needs. He supported me from that moment until now, helped me to take all the required papers. I would love to send big thanks to him and United Work.
When did you open your “Market”? And do you feel that you need any support now?
2 months ago. Yes, my Turkish language skill is not good. I need to attend courses because I am dealing with Syrian and Turkish customers right here in the market.
What kind of difficulties have you faced while working here?
I have worked in construction where the job was very hard. Then I worked in the Textile field in which working hours were more than 13 hours per day and I was forced to work extra hours. Sometimes the boss wasn’t paying for the extra, also the salary was only 1300 TL. There was neither work permit nor health insurance. In addition to these, there was the risk of cancer because of the smell in materials due to the mechanical dye. Often a committee was making visits to our workplace warning us about the risk of cancer that was threatening people’s health. Many employees were quitting the job and I left too.
After one month I found another job in construction on the European side that was very far from my home. I had to leave home at 6 am and the work over there was very hard too.
How would you describe your relations with people from Turkey in general? At work and in your private life?
Because I can not speak Turkish very good, I can not contact lots of people, some are very kind to me. If they did not understand me from the first time, some were patient. Those who were not acted aggressively towards me.
How did you find United Work?
I heard about United Work from people living here in the area. When I asked them about the official papers for the market, they told me about United Work. I went to their office and met with Mr.Rahmi who gave a lot of support from the moment I met him till now.
Do you feel a sense of belonging in Turkey? (Do you feel that you are welcomed in Turkey?)
Yes, in the close circle I live but if I go anywhere out of this area (Sultanbeyli), I see myself as a stranger. I went out of my area only 3 times in the last 2 years’ time.
What do you think about your future? Do you plan to stay in Turkey or do you plan to go back to Syria one day?
No, I am not thinking of going back because the situation is not stable. Here I have work, home, and my wife will come to Turkey soon, so I am building my future.