Abdal Moneem Kyassah found a solution when some Syrian traders found they couldn’t find work in their new home, New Zealand.
Dunedin residents have set up a small company, Abdal Construction, to employ experienced carpenters, bricklayers, concrete workers and former refugees who are GIB stoppers.
In December, a Syrian trader began work on 10 Dunedin Houses for Kainga Ola/Duneden Housing Maintenance Contractors (DHMC) to carry out maintenance and healthy home improvements.
They will do similar work on about 50 Kainga Ora homes in Oamaru as part of a long-term project.
Abdal Construction Founder and Team Leader, Abdal said:
With these residential jobs, traders learn how Kiwi building sites work and further develop their skills.
The aim is to prepare for commercial work on the reconstruction of a large Dunedin hospital.
The market is hungry for builders,” he points out.
He agrees that he is something of a bridge to help men work in Arabic in a different working environment than in Syria.
The Daily Encourager previously told how Abdal arrived in New Zealand in 2017 and gradually established a gourmet catering business in the Middle East.
Last week, the chef-turned-businessman took a break from his popular Syrian food truck to talk about his new venture.
He wanted to help a Syrian man who had settled in Dunedin under the refugee program find a job and experience working life in the country.
Some have limited English and no New Zealand qualifications, but have strong architectural skills.
“I thought the solution to this was to set up a company and hire people on benefits.”
Abdal’s vision was to bring together a small group of construction workers, all former Syrian refugees, and start a small enterprise by hiring them in their field of expertise.
He was able to use his knowledge of working in New Zealand and his ability to communicate in English to negotiate contracts and manage a team of non-English speaking construction workers.
Last October, Abdal submitted his idea to the New Zealand Red Cross, which helps former refugees adjust to their new lives.
The Red Cross Path to Employment Dunedin manager Claire Speedy linked him with Workforce Central Dunedin, which linked him with Kainga Ola, the government housing agency.
Nationwide, the Department of Housing and Urban Development says its properties must be upgraded to Healthy Home standards by July 2024 so tenants can have warmer, drier homes.
Abdal says Kainga Ora’s main local contractor, DHMC, provided preliminary training and advice on setting up his company to meet contract requirements.
“DHMC provided guidance and support to get my team ready to tackle our first project,” he says.
full of praise
Abdal praises how all the organizations have worked together.
“We are very proud and satisfied with how the New Zealand system is performing.”
DHMC conducted health and safety courses and trained all employees on workplace safety. The Red Cross has provided intercultural support and language interpreting.
Two big companies donated tools: PlaceMakers and Milwaukee.
Abdal employs one full-time employee and is preparing four or five workers to be educated and supervised for the next stage of full-time work.
This includes those who obtain a New Zealand driver’s license through the Red Cross programme.
We are working hard to improve ourselves and our team for new jobs. ”
The Syrians work well together as a team, he said.
Abdal describes how the tradesmen he employs full time worked for various construction companies in Dunedin. However, once those jobs were completed, the men had to move on to others.
Abdul is a qualified chef, but he also knows construction sites well.
In his youth, he was a kitchen carpenter for a time, working in a brick factory in Syria.
His dream job was to design and build a house. Perhaps by helping his compatriots earn a living, this dream is one step closer.
As well as running a new construction venture, Abdal is a devoted husband, father and member of the Syrian community.
He also continues to pursue his culinary passion by catering events and serving from food trucks. Seemingly always smiling.
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For more information:
our previous story About Abdal
red cross road to employment program
healthy housing standard
https://dailyencourager.co.nz/creative-chef-cooks-up-employment-solution/ Creative chefs craft employment solutions