Acquiring the tailoring skills from his parents in Aleppo when he was 12, Mazlum, now 31, worked as a tailor during his teenage years. Fascinated by the craftsmanship of the art of making clothes, he opened his own shop by the age of 20. Mazlum’s dreams of becoming a well-known tailor in his community got interrupted by the war at 2012. As the conditions got harder and finally impossible for him to access to his own shop when it got burnt down along with other buildings in the area in 2013, Mazlum made a hard decision to move to Şanlıurfa, Turkey with his parents.
Starting from scratch without any prior knowledge of Turkish culture and language was challenging for Mazlum at the beginning. He started working in a factory, then moved to an atelier where he started to become known among the community by his skills, welcoming attitude and smile. During one of these interactions, he met with his future wife-to-be. “She came in for a dress and I really liked her. It was love from first sight” says Mazlum. As they got married and twins added to their family, providing them with better conditions became Mazlum’s priority.
When his father informed him about IOM’s quick impact grants providing tool kits for the Syrians in Turkey to start their businesses, Mazlum made an immediate application, receiving a tailoring kit that allowed him to open his own shop. His strong relations with the host and Syrian community enabled his access to customers. “This project changed my life”, he said. “I can earn money and take care of my household by working with my nephews. I am very happy because this is my own shop. I want to build a bigger atelier and grow my business. Then I want to train people and help them get jobs because I understand how hard it is to be unemployed and I want people to avoid this experience”.