Syrian refugee family opens auto repair and sale business on East Lake Road

An immigrant family is living their American dream by opening a business on East Lake Road with the help of a government program.

The Kari brothers say they are excited about this new opportunity. They say it took a lot of work and help from the International Erie Institute.

“I never thought I was going to be in America, the United States, and it was like a dream. I remember when I was a kid I thought the American was at the top. We do not know that one day we were going to visit it. Rodi Kari said.

Rodi Kari now says he feels like he’s on top. He and his family became the owners of a new auto store. Kari, her four brothers and her father traveled from Turkey to Erie in 2016 as part of a resettlement program.

Before that, in 2013, the family fled to Turkey to escape the war in Syria.

“I am very happy that my father is with us and he showed us how to be strong and help each other.” Said Rodi Kari.

The Kari family came to the United States with some experience of owning their own car dealership in Syria.

The United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants in Erie has made the family part of its microenterprise development program.

The Erie International Institute’s program coordinator says these types of programs help newcomers to the country achieve their American dream.

“It’s not just a financial matter, we work with them individually and we help them with everything. They have a lot of obstacles. Said Bassam Dabbah.

This program not only helps the Kari family start their own local business, but also helps Rodi Kari get his inspection license in Pennsylvania.

“They know what’s the difference between over there and here, being here, I mean. You should be very proud and very lucky to have this opportunity. »Said Dabbah.

These brothers say they have been able to accomplish so much in America and that this program can help other immigrants and refugees in the area.


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About Lillie Berry

Lillie Berry

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