Many Christians are fleeing Pakistan and seeking refuge in the United States. It’s not easy, because some people in any refugee from Muslim world sees a threat to security. But one woman knows immigrants from an unexpected quarter — as the refugees who are able to breathe new life into the local economy.
The city of Utica in upstate new York calls itself the city that loves refugees. Of course, there is the humanitarian aspect. But there are economic.
“For example, in the 50-ies of the city in the state of new York was very developed and alive. And then all the former the production here, all kinds of factories and plants moved to the South. Now, as you know, they generally are outside the country. The result did not work as well as a significant part of our population,” says Robert Palmeri, mayor of Utica, new York.
But after decades of economic decline, this city is once again growing and evolving due to the influx of highly motivated workers.
“Without the refugees and immigrants, without an increase in population will not be recovery,” says Shelley Callahan, Director of the centre for refugees “Mohawk valley” in Utica. Their main task — the relocation.
“This is a very American program in the sense that it is built on the principle of “pave the road yourself”: get a job and start to work, even if you do not know a word of English. We managed to find in this sense a common language with employers. But the refugees come here with an obligation to return airfare to the Federal government, and they receive six months after arrival,” says Shelley Callahan.
Ali al-Hashimi came to the United States as a refugee from Iraq and eventually settled in Utica.
“In my country I had my own business. But because of the war and turmoil, my business is now closed, although the building itself is still there, but it’s there just standing and gathering dust,” he says.
Al-Hashimi has been trained and quickly got to work. But after a few weeks he realized that he would prefer to use their entrepreneurial skills to open a new restaurant in Utica.
“I tried to think of a catchy name, so he called it “Hummus and tabbouleh”. Many people know what “hummus”, and they know what a “tabbouleh”, but they don’t know where they are. The hummus and tabbouleh is a middle Eastern dish,” continues Ali al-Hashimi.
And about an hour’s drive to the West, in Syracuse, new York, in the new restaurant and training program called “With love” teach refugees, immigrants and low-income students the skills necessary to open their own businesses in the field of nutrition. Adam Sudmann is the program Manager training “With love”, and he also invented the concept of the restaurant, who is also the school.
Here every six months and changing the kitchen. Today she is Pakistani. And what will be after a few months — no one knows!
“People come to us from all over the world. Sometimes they cook splendid meals. They get along well with each other, because you find similarities in their cultures, unlike what you see on TV. Things behind the scenes, and we see so many beautiful things associated with the cultures and families, as well as manifestations of hospitality with food,” says Adam Sudmann.
Students working in the restaurant “love” are changed every three to nine months. However, the restaurant and its owner. This student prepares the menu and supervises all Affairs, along the way learning everything from working in the kitchen prior to the finalization of the lease.
“The ultimate goal for a man is that he went and opened the next own restaurant,” says Adam Sudmann.
Sarah Robin — the current owner in the restaurant. She fled from Lahore, Pakistan, after she was persecuted because she became a Christian.
“My relatives and friends — literally everything — you wanted to kill me. One day I was poisoned. I was often beaten by members of my own family. But whatever happened, God was always with me. He saved my life,” she says.
Robin says that God opened for her doors so she came to the United States, and It continues to open new doors, while she works and succeeds.
“I never thought, living in the country, that one day open his own restaurant in America or coming here to work. But when I arrived here as a refugee, I thought that I need to learn really useful skills. And I love to cook! So I’m very happy that I’m in this program,” says Sarah Robin.
Robin has already started the process of opening your own restaurant, working with Adminom. They are looking for a place and negotiate with investors its vision.
“I want to bring to this country the Pakistani atmosphere and concept of the food will be street food” — shares his dreams Robin.
More and more entrepreneurs among the refugee population, such as Robin, to train and get the skills to open their own restaurants or other catering companies. Cadman hopes that people will are inclined to invest their time and money in the development of the city of Syracuse.
“While many professionals living in the city, don’t do that, you begin to fill the city with funds but also with life and energy,” says Adam Sudmann.
Two cities rust-belt — and thousands of refugees who with a little help ready to be useful members for their society.