UPLIFTING THE COMMUNITY
ONE SUCCESS STORY AT A TIME...
Nazira Niazi arrived in the United States in 2013 with her husband and two children as refugees, after being forced to leave Afghanistan.
Shortly after her arrival in Michigan, Niazi came to ACCESS seeking help with employment. However, as an entrepreneur in her native country of Afghanistan, Nazira longed to open and run her own business here in the states.
Back in her hometown, Nazira owned and operated a jewelry business with her family. So naturally, she wanted to continue the work that she loved so dearly, here.
Through the ACCESS Growth Centers' Micro-loan program, funded by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement, she was connected with one-on-one business start-up technical assistance. The program provided her Financial Literacy training & English as a Second Language (ESL) classes.
With pride we are able to say that with our assistance & resources, alongside Freedom House, Nazira was able to display her pieces at an upscale jewelry store located in Novi, MI.
On April 24, 2014, Marlees by Tappers at Twelve Oaks Mall held a special event displaying and selling jewelry from Naziras beautiful collection.
“At ACCESS Growth Center we are elated and proud to see one of our entrepreneurs taking the next step in the great American tradition of immigrant entrepreneurship; what a difference six months can make!" says the Growth Center Manager, Hassan Bazzi. "All of this is proof that the work we all do makes a huge difference on so many levels."
Ikhlas Ibrahim arrived in the United States as an Iraqi refugee. After suffering from emotional turmoil following her son’s kidnapping and ransom, Ikhlas and her four children moved to the United States with the dream of a better life.
ACCESS proudly assisted Ikhlas in turning her dream into reality. As a recent graduate of ACCESS Growth Center’s Home-Based Child Care Program, she successfully completed the required training to become a certified childcare provider.
Ikhlas says she loves helping others, and she has plans to open her own business for refugee children in the near future. Currently she is working with case managers at the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) to finalize plans to care for two children in her home-based daycare center.
Her long-term goal is to inspire and empower other refugee women to start their own home-based business through attending workshops at ACCESS Growth Center as she did.
"The Home-Based Child Care Program's mission is to empower women through skill-building, microenterprise development and economic independence," said Haneen Wraikat, HBCC Program director.
ChEF Maliks' STORY
Malik loves food. The Iraqi refugee has spent much of his professional life sharing the joy of cooking with others, having worked as a chef for nearly 20 years.
After fearing for his family’s safety, Malik immigrated to the United States in 2012. Seeking a fresh start, he pursued work in metro Detroit. Despite his experience as a trained chef in Cyprus, Malik could not find long-term employment, and had no idea how to pursue his passion for baking and cooking.
Months of searching led Malik to ACCESS’ Employment and Training Department (E & T). The E & T Staff worked diligently with Malik to help him find a way to continue working for himself as he did Iraq. Soon after his initial meetings, Malik was referred to the Growth Center.
He attended three weekly training sessions beginning in July 2013. There he learned how to successfully run business operations. Some of our staff members even helped him scout for locations, and connected him to Patronicity (a crowd-funding website; allows an entrepreneur to raise funds online for the ability to launch or grow their business/project).
This past January, the Growth Center lent out our very first micro- loan through our ever growing Immigrant Entrepreneur Development Micro- loan Program (IEDP). Chef Malik was our very first lucky recipient. Using his micro- loan, he has been able to remodel and renovate an existing retail building located on Warren Avenue in Detroit. The loan also allowed him to purchase the equipment needed for the interior of his restaurant and its commercial kitchen. Chef Maliks' restaurant will serve a mix of Middle Eastern cuisine, in addition to baked goods and handmade sweets.
Grateful for the assistance Malik says, "We are very happy here. We like the people and we feel safer compared to Iraq; there is much less stress.”