The story of Rima, a Syrian refugee-entrepreneur with a catering business

“Founding Syrian Nights has helped me to become financially independent. I am not dependent on social welfare. And what is very important for me personally, apart from the financial aspect, is that starting my own business has helped me to start believing in myself again”.


Rima was born in Ukraine but grew up in Syria, from where she fled to Switzerland with her family in 2015.

She has a degree in French literature and cinematography, and if circumstances had been different, she would still live in Syria and worked as a photographer for Emirates Television.

For five years, Rima brewed the idea of setting up a restaurant in her new country. With the help of The Human Safety Net, she dared to take an important step into that direction, she started a catering company that specialises in oriental cuisine. She was supported by the Swiss partner Capacity and also had the support of a Generali Switzerland volunteer who helped her set up her business.

Rima was part of Capacity’s Entrepreneurship programme delivered in partnership with the Human Safety Net, from 2019 to 2022, 131 persons with refugee or migrant backgrounds were able to benefit from this programme.

Syrian Nights is a catering company specialising in oriental cuisine that offers its specialities at parties and events. Rima describes her food as “Rich, fresh and a sensory explosion”. Rima told us that The Human safety Net and the network it helped her build have been essential in the launch of her business, since she met many of her future customers through the programme.