Syrian refugees aspire to start businesses with ProsperUS help

January 19th, 2018
Matthew Bihun, Senior Loan Officer at ProsperUS Detroit, speaks to the ProsperUS class of Syrian refugees about opportunities for small business loans available through ProsperUS for graduates of the program. Up front with Matthew is Rania Khalil-Akkari, who is teaching the course

Our ProsperUS Detroit program is conducting a special class for Syrian refugees who want to learn about starting their own small businesses.

The course is taught in Arabic by Rania Khalil-Akkari at the ICD – Islamic Center of Detroit and was arranged with assistance from the Syrian American Rescue Network – SARN.

ProsperUS student Sam Yasin.

All the class participants fled the Syrian civil war and were permitted to settle in America. The war has killed over 400,000 people and displaced 11 million.

One of the participants is Sam Yasin, who is is from Aleppo, Syria. Aleppo has been devastated by the civil war and indiscriminate bombing by the Syrian regime. Sam fled to Turkey in June 2012 and then secured passage for his wife and children a few months later. They registered with the United Nations Refugees Agency (UNHCR) and met the criteria to enter the lottery to have a chance to come to the United States, which agreed to accept a limited number of Syrian refugees. After their good fortune in the lottery, the family came to Detroit a year and a half ago. Sam works as a carpenter here. He is an expert woodcarver who creates unique and intricate designs. These can be seen on his Facebook page. Sam wants to establish his own woodcarving business and is drafting his business plan through the ProsperUS class.

It has been an extraordinary and difficult journey for these ProsperUS students, but they are deeply determined to re-establish their lives, care for their families and provide a better life for their children, and pursue the American Dream of opportunity.

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