Celebrating the Achievements of Entrepreneurs with Disabilities: One Man’s Story from Syria to Türkiye - Building Markets

Celebrating the Achievements of Entrepreneurs with Disabilities: One Man’s Story from Syria to Türkiye

by Nawar Maarri
December 2nd, 2022

Thirty-eight year old Abdulkadir Al-Sahn grew up in the Syrian countryside just outside the city of Deir Al-Zour. He comes from a family of farmers, but his passion for learning led him on his own path to pursue an English literature degree at university. He was a happy third-year college student when the war broke out in 2011 and his life was altered forever.

One day while I was going to school, I saw a student demonstration in front of the university. This was usual, but that day one of the random bullets that aimed to disperse the students settled in the dorsal region of my back and paralyzed the lower part of my body. That was the day that changed the course of my life.”

 

In Türkiye, Abdulkadir went through extensive rehabilitation before eventually being discharged in a wheelchair. Unable to return home, he settled in Gaziantep, where his brother resides, and started to think about a new path for his career and life.

Although Abdulkadir can speak English and Turkish and has experience in e-marketing and foreign trade, he was not able to find a job. 

People with disabilities are far less likely to be employed than workers with no disabilities due to the lack of awareness of disability, lack of disability-friendly facilities in the workplace, and employer’s concern over costs.

 

Determined to overcome the odds, Abdulkadir chose entrepreneurship. Together with his brother he started a small business called Najmat Alfurat, selling household goods, gifts, glass, and kitchenware. Owning his business has helped Abdulkadir to achieve his career goals, providing him with greater work flexibility and financial stability. 

Now with access to Building Markets’ online training courses, Abdulkadir is actively learning how to find and win tender opportunities. He especially likes that the e-learning platform allows him to follow along at his own pace, which makes a big difference to Abdulkadir. 

Looking to the future, Abdulkadir  hopes to expand his business through exporting, which would enable him to hire more employees, including people with disabilities. 

Everybody gains from disability inclusion, by focusing on skills rather than stereotypes, you access an untapped pool of talent.”

 

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