Every now and then, stories of immigrants getting their lives back on track after fleeing war and misery in Syria pop up in the news. Unfortunately for Americans, many of these stories take place in countries where these individuals are allowed to experience true freedom. The story of the Hadhads is one of them.
Fleeing the war in Syria, the Hadhads are financially independent just one year after arriving in Canada. But it wasn't always easy.
Before making their journey to Nova Scotia, the family had never embarked on a plane. Landing with a few bags of clothing and no belongings, they were nervous about their future in a strange land. But that wasn't the only problem — when they were forced to leave Damascus, they were also forced to leave their eldest daughter Alaa and her two children behind. They were finally reunited in December.
In Canada, their ability to make chocolate came in handy. And now, their start-up business — a small chocolate shop known as Peace by Chocolate — hopes to bring peace through sweets. They are helping to make the world a better place.
Being chocolate artisans back home helped them in their new home, where they started selling their products at farmers markets in the region in a matter of months. With the help of volunteers in Antigonish, a shed-turned-factory was built and in no time tour buses were dropping by. Their business was so successful that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau even mentioned the Hadhads, showcasing their beautiful story during a United Nations speech.
In order to be “integrated as fast as possible,” the eldest son Tareq said, “we just explored every option.” But at first, he was conflicted after learning he wouldn't be able to complete his medical school training — which he had nearly finished back in Syria. Thankfully, they found a purpose with their chocolate business.
Describing her initial time in the country as “sad” because of the time she spent away from her daughter and grandchildren, Shehenaz Hadhad says that she wants “to now help my husband and make chocolate.”
During the holiday season, the family started accepting online orders but had to immediately shut down because they weren't able to handle the demand. The thousands of orders were so much for the Hadhads that now they are expanding, adding 10 new staff members to the team.
Realizing that other Syrian families are having a harder time transitioning to their lives in the new country, the Hadhads want to hire some of them in other locations. This will enable the family to distribute the chocolates to more consumers while helping others in need.
As you can see with the Hadhads, when you allow people fleeing from war and violence the opportunity to work on their dreams in a peaceful environment, everyone wins. Not only the immigrants but also those who are touched by them — whether they are consumers or employees. How about giving more of them the chance to help make our country more peaceful?
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Chris Wattie