From Syria to Spain – meet Tarek
My name is Tarek. I am 38 years old and I come from Damascus, Syria. I have been living in Spain since 2015 with my wife and children.
Back in Syria, I owned a small shop for computer and mobile repair; as a hobby, I studied economics. We left Syria in 2013 because of the war after I lost my job and home. When we left, we first went to Algeria – but the situation wasn’t very good there, either. I couldn’t get a residence permit.
With my wife and her family, we decided to go to Europe. So, we all moved to Spain together; it was the only option for us in Europe at the time. And truthfully, Spain is very good for us. We like the culture, and everything is very close.
When we arrived in Spain, we got involved with an organisation that helps refugees. This organisation gave me the opportunity to work at IKEA. And I am very thankful for that.
I miss everything from home. I miss my family and my mother; I haven’t seen them for nine years. Back in the day, Damascus was a place where I was happy. And then, I left the city at 32 and started my life over. It’s like I was reborn.
In general, my family makes me happy. When I see my family is happy, I am happy. It was so hard to leave my country behind, but it’s getting better and better.
My advice is to always have hope. If you lose hope, you lose everything. I have been through much in my life, but I always remained hopeful that tomorrow would be better. And it helped to know that I’m not only working to make life better for me – but for my family. They give me strength to carry on.”
TarekIKEA Spain, Sales
I wish that people would understand that one day, all of us will experience an obstacle. But if you keep your goal in mind and go for it, you will get it. You just have to be hopeful, patient and willing to put in the work. This has worked for me so far.
If I were to emphasise one thing, it’s to believe in yourself. You can make things better.