Mum who moved from war-torn Syria to Cork set up a successful soap business

Reham Ghafarji of Soap & More features on the next programme of Teideal: Hector on TG4. 
Mum who moved from war-torn Syria to Cork set up a successful soap business

Hector meets Reham Ghafarji (pictured on TV Week cover) and also Fernanda Gonzalez, who moved from Argentina to Cork, in his latest series on Thursday

FOUR years ago, she moved from Syria to Ireland, and now Reham Ghafarji is the proud owner of a flourishing business.

Reham, who lives in Clonakilty, set up Soap & More in 2020 selling handcrafted soaps and skincare products made with 100% natural ingredients.

Her success story is told in the second episode of Teideal: Hector on TG4 on Thursday, October 7 at 9.30pm, as the host Hector Ó hEochagáin continues his journey round Ireland, talking to people who emigrated here about motivated them to make the move.

Reham studied English literature at university in Damascus and was a beautician there.

“This is where I discovered my love and passion for natural selfcare products,” she told the Examiner in a recent interview.

Her husband and two children had moved to Ireland two years before she joined them, and she said: “I seized my opportunity to start my own business in Cork after settling in our new home – which is no easy feat for a mum of two! I am determined to succeed doing something I love as I aspire to help my family and not have to depend on anyone.

“My husband and I moved to Ireland in search of a better life from a country ravaged by war, in which we lost some loved ones. We hoped for a better life for our young children and so we made the brave decision to uproot our family and start a new life in a new country.

“I now feel I have everything, my family, a new start in an amazing country and a new business - all of it is a dream come true!”

Reham started her own handmade soap company to help the family through Covid, with all ingredients sourced in Ireland, and 15% of her sales go to charities.

Also in Teideal: Hector, the host hears how GAA-mad Jeannine O’Brien from the Congo was swept off her feet by an Irish man in Limerick, and hears a story about seeking asylum from activist Fadl Mustapha in Letterkenny. Then he heads to the Midlands to meet Liberian-born Westmeath GAA star, Boidu Sayeh.

Hector explores the pull and effect Irish culture has on people from around the world and discusses the musical connection with Argentinian born Fernanda Gonzalez, who lives in Aghada, East Cork, with her wife Gayle.

She feels home has two meanings. Home is her birth country, where she was born and spent her formative years and then the adult formative years. She also says “home is where the mortgage is” so she feels equally Irish and Argentine as she has spent literally 23 years in Argentina and 23 years in Ireland.

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