Assam Hadhad, a Syrian refugee who arrived in Canada last year, displays a tray of chocolates at his shop, Peace by Chocolate, in Antigonish, N.S. on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. CEO Tareq Hadhad has plans to hiring more refugees over the next three years. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

‘They come here to contribute’: Syrian chocolatier to hire, mentor refugee

Peace by Chocolate of Antigonish, N.S., has committed to hiring 50 refugees by 2022

A one-time Syrian refugee who founded a thriving Nova Scotia chocolate company has announced plans to hire and mentor other refugees.

Peace by Chocolate of Antigonish, N.S., has committed to hiring 50 refugees by 2022, and to mentor 10 refugee-run start-ups over the next few years.

The now-famous company was founded by the Hadhad family, who fled their home in war-torn Damascus in 2012. They arrived in Nova Scotia with next to nothing in 2016.

The company was founded shortly after and quickly found success, bolstered by high-profile shout outs like one from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in an address to the United Nations.

The family’s remarkable story has been told around the world.

Tareq Hadhad, CEO of the company, said Peace by Chocolate aims to give back to the country that welcomed his family when so many nations were closing their borders to the Syrian plight.

Now he plans to expand on that vision by giving back to other refugees looking to start new lives — as Canadians did for his family when they needed it most.

TWO YEARS LATER: Most Syrian refugees settling well in B.C., report says

“They (refugees) come here to contribute, they come here to give back to the community, and as a family that lost everything in the world we know how they feel,” Hadhad said in an interview.

“Being a refugee is not a choice, it’s not a decision, it’s not a life goal. These people are fleeing their homes because of war, because of persecution. It is substantial and it’s the responsibility for everyone to do his role in supporting these newcomers to Canada.”

Hadhad said the roles on offer will include positions in production, sales, and senior management, nurturing the skills and experience refugees bring with them.

Hadhad’s father, Assam, ran a chocolate business in Damascus for decades but it was destroyed in a 2012 bombing.

Many of the jobs will be located at new facilities planned for different parts of the country as Peace By Chocolate expands, with locations still being finalized.

Hadhad said he hopes other Canadian businesses will follow his lead and support newcomers.

The chocolatier added that most Canadians have the generosity of Indigenous people to thank for their successes in Canada.

“Everyone when they came here, they received a hand, and now it’s the turn for all these settled Canadians to help,” he said.

“We want to support other refugees like our community supported us.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

‘Alberta Long Ears’ in Stettler Aug. 10th-11th.

Established in 1989, the Alberta Donkey & Mule Club is an offshoot of the national organization

Communities in Bloom judges check out Stettler’s finest features

National and International results will be announced in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in September

Buccaneers pillage Irish 36-0

Central Alberta bounces back after off week against Wolfpack

Alberta Prairie Railways marks 30 unforgettable in the biz

Tickets purchased this year go to a special ‘luxury’ train ride for 30 guests

Ethel Williams gifted a donation for the Community Recreation Track resurfacing

The running track in Stettler is a legacy from the 1991 Alberta Summer Games

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Buccaneers pillage Irish 36-0

Central Alberta bounces back after off week against Wolfpack

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Most Read