Kwthar wanted to continue her studies and be able to support her family; she is now the owner of a successful Hijab clothing shop in Pafos.
Kwthar Souleman, 34, is a mother of four from Aleppo, Syria and came to Cyprus in 2015 with her husband and two daughters. Her other two children were born in Cyprus.
Today she lives in Cyprus with her husband and four children under subsidiary protection status.
“When the heavy shelling and bombing started we knew that we had to leave. We went to a small village close to the Turkish borders, but after a while we were not safe there so we crossed to Turkey,” she recalls.
From Turkey the family arrived by plane in the northern part of Cyprus and then made their way south, to the area controlled by the Republic of Cyprus. Kwthar’s husband had stayed and worked in Cyprus for several years before the crisis in 2011 began and they considered Cyprus as a safe option for them and their two underage children.
With unfinished studies in architecture, Kwthar wanted to continue her studies and support the family at the same time. Despite persistent efforts to find a job to enable her to pursue her goals, Kwthar and her husband decided to start their own business.
Kwthar Souleman, 34, is a mother of four from Aleppo, Syria and came to Cyprus in 2015. She and her family live in Pafos under subsidiary protection status. © UNHCR Cyprus/Sebastian Rich
With a clothing store in Syria and with a sizeable Syrian and Arab community in Pafos, she and her husband thought that a hijab clothing store would stand a good chance of success.
Today she’s the owner of a successful shop in Chloraka, the second shop of Hijab clothing in Cyprus.
And their clientele has expanded beyond the Muslim population.
“I have Cypriot and British customers who buy from my store as its cheaper. For example, they buy the hijab and wear the scarf on their neck.”
Kwthar and her family feel safe in Cyprus. She’s happy for her children who are going to school and started learning. But Syria will always be in her heart. “When it’s safe again, I would go back if my children can continue their education and have a normal future there.”