From Syria, with Love

Food for the soul, coming from the heart

CLUSTER: Migrants’ entrepreneurs and migrant lead businesses

START DATE: September 2016


0473 68 77 01

Syria, catering, inclusion, refugee, women
whereBerlin, Germany



Yara, a Service Designer born in Damascus.


5 Syrian housewives.




Food industry.



Labour integration, Empowerment, a sense of purpose, and social inclusion.


From Syria with love is catering company that aims to empower and give purpose to Syrian housewives. Their mission is to change the people’s perception of Syria through Syrian cuisine, empower women and develop their sense of belonging while promoting their culture amongst the locals.

They offer a buffet service for events from 10 up to 300 people and also organise private cooking workshops for small groups and special occasions from 6 up to 30 people per session.

Since two months ago, they also have a restaurant in partnership with Arenberg, a cultural Hub in Antwerp.

why it is

The Project was started by a Syrian immigrant, who arrived speaking fluent English, already had a job contract and had already experienced living abroad. She wanted to introduce Syrian culture to the local community and at the same time give support to Syrian housewives. Now, together with 5 Syrian refugee women, they project a positive image of their home through food, while generating an extra income for their families and at the same time giving something back to the community that has welcomed them.


Relation with the country of origin:
In Syria food has a great cultural value and the women have an important role. On one hand, food represents taking care of the family and on the other, it is a way to open up conversations and even close businesses. When guests come to a Syrian home for dinner, everyone in the family tries their best to make that person feel comfortable..
Relation with previous personal competencies/abilities/skills:
Yara is a Service Designer, who studied in Italy. Her design skills and education, as well as her willingness to experiment, were a key tool to understand the stakeholders needs and channel the evolution of the business according to those needs. The housewives innate skill and experience in their traditional cuisine was also a great asset

Start up

Role of network/community:
The Belgian community is very open to try international food, there is usually a wide offer in the street markets. At the same time, Belgians are often inclined to support migrant initiatives, particularly refugee led projects. However, a key for the success of the project was listening to the requests of the clients and their feedback, as well as the word of mouth that attracted media attention.
Relation with the context:
The project was well received in the community because it was the first offering Syrian food. There were other options of international cuisine but not Syrian so this was a very strong differentiator.
Main difficulties/challenges:
Find women with the aptitude and desire to dedicate their time to the project and some other management logistics.


Main Milestones:
They had the opportunity to participate in a street market and were able to supply food for around 100 people. This required the participation of women (newcomers, housewives around 20-40 years old) who were able to and had the time to commit to cook a very large amount of food.
The official registration of the business was also a big turning point, this enabled them to serve big organisations and provide the necessary invoices. In order to achieve this point it was necessary to analyse each women’s individual capabilities, take into account the amount of work each woman was able to do by herself and divide the tasks and orders accordingly. This led to being able to prepare catering for big events, for around 250 people.
Thanks to their Partnership with Arenberg, a cultural Hub in Antwerp, they acquired an industrial kitchen in return for feeding the artists and managing the restaurant.
Main difficulties/challenges:
To manage the business logistics and at the same time learning to guide other women. For Yara, it was also difficult to distribute her time between her design practice and the business.
They have difficulties engaging women in technology programs.


From Syria with love works on demand and generates extra income for the women who are paid by the hour.
5 Syrian housewives, recently they also involved two of their husbands who work with the transportation logistics of the products.


Main Goals/challenges:
The clients are now asking for new recipes and services.
Critical Factors to manage this challenges:
Keep clients engaged in the project by listening to their needs and ideas.