More than 35,700 Syrian Refugees have arrived in Canada, according to PRI.org. And while the country is doing everything it can to help the refugees, it’s a difficult situation for all those involved. That’s why Faizan Ashraf, an MBA candidate at McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business decided to take a job where he could make a difference. He’s the treasurer of Newcomer Kitchen.
Newcomer Kitchen is a nonprofit organization that gives Syrian women the opportunity to cook a weekly meal together and socialize. So far, 59 women have enrolled in the program, which gives them a safe place to cook and prepare meals for their family. The organization’s goal is to replicate its program in any restaurant around the world and to even transform into an opportunity for women to make money.
Ashraf has been instrumental in setting up Newcomer Kitchen’s accounting policies, procedures and processes to help the initiative expand. “I knew from childhood that I wanted to be a part of a non-profit organization that gives back to the community,” Ashraf said in a school news story. “I am so proud to be on the Newcomer Kitchen team. As an immigrant myself, I firmly believe that by helping each other, we can help the world.”
So, how did Ashraf get involved in Newcome Kitchen? It started during a project at DeGroote. In late 2015, Ashraf started the MSU-IWC 20-for-20 Syrian Refugees Project. It was a collaboration between the McMaster Student Union and the Immigrants Working Centre (IWC), and its goal was to raise funds to sponsor 20 Syrian refugees. It was from there that Ashraf decided he wanted to continue to give back to the community and found Newcomer Kitchen. Ashraf has been able to make such a difference at his job thanks to his MBA program.
“Given my background working with start-ups in the Middle East, and the fact that I was in my final year of my MBA program at DeGroote, I realized this was the perfect opportunity to get involved in helping refugees while leveraging my experience and education to help Newcomer Kitchen become a successful start-up,” he explained. “Working with Newcomer Kitchen offers me the joys and stresses of working with an emerging organization going through the critical stage of becoming a sustainable business, while also finding peace in the fact that I have been involved in helping women suffering from the wounds of war not only heal but become successful Canadians.”
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