A SYRIAN citizen who now lives in Cork and runs her own business is donating a percentage of her profits to charity to thank the Irish people for the welcome and support her family has received.
“I have been in my business one year, and [because of the] huge support I received from Irish people, I started to donate 15% of my monthly profit to support homeless in Ireland,” Reham Ghafarji told The Echo.
Ms Ghafarji, who studied English literature at university in Damascus, has been living in Ireland with her husband Wasim and their young family since 2017.
She had worked as a beautician in her home country and undertook more training in Ireland. She worked in West Cork, but lost her job during the pandemic.
“After that, I needed to be still active, still doing something I love, so I started my small business which was [making] handmade soap and skincare products like body scrubs and hair oils,” she said.
Ms Ghafarji’s products are made from natural ingredients and are chemical and cruelty-free.
She uses a mixture of Irish and Syrian ingredients.
“It’s tough to find black seed oil in Ireland, and it’s too expensive, so I bring it from my home country,” she says. “It’s very good for skin as well — in the Middle East we call it blessed seeds because it’s full of benefits for the skin.”
She sells her products online, and in a shop in Clonakilty and has added Christmas tree soaps to her range.
Ms Ghafarji says she is hugely grateful for the support she has received for her business and how her family have been supported in their move to West Cork.
“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,” she said.
“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!”
In the future, she hopes to open a small factory and provide jobs for others with her business.
- You can find out more about Ms Ghafarji’s products at www.soapandmore.ie.