Alaa remembers growing up in Idlib, a city in Syria that was lush and green. She recalls cooking classes, playing a competitive sports team, and her extended family living in one unit, including aunts, uncles, and cousins.
She was married soon after high school and moved into her husband's family home. Her role was raising 3 children, and cooking for the extended family. Her husband ran a thriving business that helped others. "Now I'm in Rhode island," she said, "where a small business is helping me."
When things went "upside-down" in 2012, her family fled to Egypt and applied to the UNHCR for resettlement. They lived in Al Giza for 5 years before hearing they would be resettled to the US.
Alaa was surprised to feel happy again in Rhode Island. She'd heard that people would be rude and she would have no social life. Instead she walks her neighborhood safely and is greeted warmly, though English is a challenge.
Alaa heard about Beautiful Day through her brother, who worked at one of our markets. She is grateful to be learning about work and especially itnerested in food production since her husband loves making sweet pastries (editor's aside: they are sooooooo delicious!) and trained in Turkey. Their dream is to start a business to bring the taste of Idlib, Turkey and Egypt to Rhode Island.