Home Kitchens: 'Delicious' Bridges to the Job Market
Micro-enterprises, as well as household projects, are among the most prominent outcomes of wars and the repercussions of the difficult economic conditions faced by individuals, and they constitute one of the aspects of the “shadow economy” that society finds itself compelled to embrace in such circumstances. Because food is an indispensable basic human need, "home kitchens" have emerged among the projects that have been popular in the past years, and have helped social media spread and develop, and was an important factor in its success.
In her home in Rukn Al-Din neighborhood, east of the capital, Damascus, Lynn Saad al-Din prepares, daily, with the help of her mother and some women, a list of requests and food for parties and events, at a somewhat acceptable price, and her husband delivers them to their owners. Lynn, 26, is a graduate of the College of Commerce and Economics before the war, and she was planning to marry and travel with her husband to Libya. However, the aggravating conditions in the two countries prevented this, and their travel was interrupted. At that time, the family considered the home kitchen project.
The psychological and social values of household projects become much more important than what was presented
Saad Al-Din told Al-Akhbar that "the new reality was difficult, especially after the extended family had to live in one house, and here I thought that a person could change his destiny if he tried to see the reality in a different way". "My relationship with the kitchen and cooking was zero and almost nonexistent, but the need is the mother of invention as they say", she adds, jokingly. Lin's project is enjoying great success and popularity due to the good reputation it has been able to gain among its customers. She believes that the most important factors for her success so far are people's confidence in her and the cleanliness and flavor of the foods she serves. In addition to the clarity of its goal and the good management it gained from its university specialization, social media also contributed to the project's popularity and attract customers. The lady does not feel sorry for her stay in the country, despite everything that happened in it. "I am totally unrepentant", she says, "because here I was able to have children and experience maternity, build a small family, and build a successful character". "Maybe I wouldn't be able to get anything from what I mentioned elsewhere".
Lynn is not considered a unique case in Syrian society today. Although the idea of "home kitchens" is not new, the difficult economic conditions that accompanied the war contributed to its spread in a great way. Especially in light of the ease of its establishment, the speed of its production and the guarantee of its profit, provided that the conditions of success are taken into account, of course, such as cleanliness, mastery of preparation and the right promotion. Manal Al-Masry, 28, runs a private group on Facebook, in the name of her kitchen. She publishes a list of available foods, along with prices, with attractive pictures of meals after their preparation is complete, and then communicates with her customers through the "WhatsApp" application, to choose their requests and delivery dates.
Manal studied mathematics, and she aspired to a promising future with "research and solution of impossible solutions", but she was surprised by the theoretical approach followed and its great difference from her expectations. As the events began in Syria, the young woman and her family left their home in a hate. Dreams changed, plans and priorities changed, after the new reality imposed a need for a source of double income. Manal gave up her dream of mathematics, due to the gap created between them. She went to the kitchen, which you did not know anything about, to get involved in making tasty formulas! Manal learned cooking, through specialized sites on the Internet. Then she started applying what she learned at home, using the experience of her mother, who says that she is a "high-class cook". After that, the young woman underwent specialized courses in gastronomy, because she sees this as "socially important, no matter how much experience".
One of the most important characteristics of home projects is that they are generally low-cost, and one of them can be launched with minimal capital and a small number of workers, in addition to the multiplicity of production options according to specialization and experience. Manal told Al-Akhbar: “When I started the kitchen project, my budget was no more than $ 100, and the house was covered. I used to work only for my mother and my maternal aunt, but today, our number has increased, and this project has secured subsistence for more than seven families”.
It helps home businesses achieve self-sufficiency for one or more families and possibly many families, while many suffer from the lack or scarcity of work opportunities, with generally low wages. In many cases, the psychological and social values of these projects become much more important than what was presented. It contributes to enhancing the confidence of the owners themselves, especially women. And it gives them new tools to face life crises, after losing the hope of completing studies, obtaining a job, or sometimes marriage.
And turned home kitchen projects, with various specialties (such as making supplies or sweets and preparing traditional household foods) into an essential part of the work programs of many charities. It is not easy, of course, as there are obstacles and difficulties facing these projects, as is any other project. On top of the obstacles are price instability, steadily rising, as well as the loss of some materials and products from the market. With the difficulty of monitoring the markets, the repeated seizures documenting fraud, lack of hygiene and breaching the health conditions for work in most restaurants, housewives who cannot do without traditional foods on their family and social occasions find in the kitchen kitchens a safe haven that meets their needs and satisfies their feelings Trust what they buy. Lynn and Manal agree that each of them has a surplus of causes that lead them to observe life and self-esteem, after all they have measured.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Hafiz Muhammad Adnan