I entered the World Cheese Awards and ended up winning the Bronze Award. For me, this was a sign to continue because I felt I was doing something right. I remember at the event, when I sat down to eat, at the table beside us an elderly man was sitting there with his daughter. They looked over at us and asked if we were enjoying the free food. When I told them, I wasn’t there for the free food and I was a cheesemaker who was a finalist in the competition, they couldn’t believe it. Only after I shared that I had a Pharmacology degree did they look at me differently and tried to be kind in their own way.
Overall, my experience hasn’t been bad. Sometimes people ask if we have cars and internet back in Syria, but I just laugh. When I tell people, I am a refugee and I’ve created this business, they appreciate it. I’ve had a lot of support; people approach me and say I am adding value to society and they’re happy to have me in Yorkshire. The people who talk badly about refugees don’t really understand us.