A loan of $8,000 helped an Iraqi refugee and his Makkah Market overcome the difficulties created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Portland, ME, United States
My name is Fawaz. I was born in Iraq, where I owned a store in the small city of Nasereyah. After 2003, my wife and I began to feel unsafe, so we moved to Syria, Jordan, and then Turkey. We were lucky to have the opportunity to come to the United States in 2009 under refugee statuses. We settled in Maine and we're excited to live in a new, safe place. Even though everything was new to include the food and how to speak and drive, we were very happy to call this place home. My wife does not work as she is on disability but my brother and I were eager to get started. Based on my employment experience in Iraq, I
sought jobs in a similar environment with my brother alongside. At first, we had a difficult time due to the language barrier. After moving around jobs, I eventually found steady employment as a cashier in an Arabic market also with my brother. As I worked in this line of work, I began to realize the demand for this industry and market and decided to open my own business in order to have a business for my middle eastern community and create jobs, but also to expand and cater to "Mainer's" the food and ingredients from that I grew up with.