Refugee entrepreneur Nadin Yousef thrives in upstate New York

Refugee Entrepreneur Nadin Yousef Thrives in Upstate New York

Refugee Entrepreneur Nadin Yousef came from Iraq and recently opened her own business in New York.

Upstate New York is not the kind of place Nadin Yousef dreamed she would be one day but it wouldn’t be the same without her. Yousef makes knit goods and jewelry in her own shop front at the West Side Bazaar. The Bazaar is a particularly important place for refugees in America. It’s been open for 6 years and helps anyone who wants to start their own business do so. The Bazaar is especially helpful to refugees and immigrants living in the area who are entrepreneurs.

West Side Bazaar is a business incubator that also supports refugee entrepreneurship

In this 3,200 square-foot facility, Yousef can often be found creating gift items and home goods, like dream catchers. She mostly uses a technique called macramé. Textiles produced using macramé are created through a knotting technique, which is common in the Middle East. It was most popular in the Victorian age and now fewer people practice it outside of the Middle East.

In her native country Iraq, Yousef was so used to the macramé technique that she never considered opening a similar business there, but here there is a market for it. She works every day of the week at her stand, and her husband at a local pharmacy. Yousef came from Iraq with her family and settled in Buffalo, New York years ago.

Welcoming Refugees: Yousef and her family were well received in her community

Instead of being resented and disliked in their community, Yousef found that she and her family were well received. In fact, just last year, residents from Upstate New York gathered to support Yousef and other refugees, during a peaceful rally to show support for refugees and immigrants.

In the upstate New York, the population has declined and has caused the economy to slow down. However, the new programs like the West Side Bazaar have been growing making it easier for refugees and immigrants to start businesses.

In the past decade, Buffalo, New York has resettled around 10,000 refugees

This also, of course, helps the economy. In just 10 years, Buffalo has resettled around 10,000 refugees. Most of these individuals are from Myanmar, Somalia, and Bhutan, making programs like the Bazaar really popular in the area. Just a few years after resettling in America, Yousef has been living the American dream and taking ownership of her livelihood.

Recommended Hall of Fame: Basma Alawee is helping refugees & immigrants learn to advocate for themselves. | The Refugee Center Online Hall of Fame

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About Akudo McGee
Akudo McGee is a recent graduate from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. McGee has a Masters degree in European studies. Her field of focus is forced migration.