A man who came to Canada as a Syrian refugee and is now a successful chocolatier has announced an initiative to hire and train 50 refugees by 2022 to work in his company’s facilities.
Tareq Hadhad, the entrepreneur behind Peace by Chocolate, says it’s part of an initiative to “give back” to the communities that assisted his family’s arrival in Canada.
“My family and I decided that it’s our turn to give back to our communities but also give hands to those coming newly to Canada,” said Hadhad in a tweet on Wednesday.
Hadhad announced the plan at the Canadian Business Summit on Refugees this past week and said his company’s pledge came alongside industry giants like Starbucks.
“It doesn’t matter about the size or the scale of the economy or the business,” he said, in an interview on Thursday,
An aspiring physician, Hadhad abandoned his studies and fled to Lebanon with several family members after a 2012 bombing destroyed his father’s chocolate factory in Syria.
The family spent three years in a refugee camp before arriving in Antigonish, N.S., in early 2016, as Canada accepted a wave of more than 25,000 Syrians.
The chocolate company was established soon after, a quickly became a hit, with the company rapidly expanding its sales across Canada and around the globe.
WATCH: ‘This is my home now’: Syrian refugee marks three years in Halifax
Hadhad said that the details around the hiring are still being worked out but that the jobs will be at existing and new facilities across the country.
He said one of the largest challenges for refugee families when they arrive in Canada is the language barrier — and his company has the perfect solution.
“We know that chocolate really doesn’t need that much of language, it’s the universal language of love and peace,” said Hadhad.
Along with the hiring of 50 refugees, Hadhad said that their company will help provide mentorship and guidance to 10 refugee startups — allowing them to access new markets through Peace by Chocolate’s existing distribution and retail networks.
With files from The Canadian Press