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Local group helps refugees put their roots down in Cleveland

Posted: 6:43 PM, Oct 02, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-03 12:42:48-04

CLEVELAND — A local organization called US Together is helping refugees who left everything they knew back home in search for a better life by giving them resources to create a new, productive life right here in Cleveland.

US Together helped Mohamad Almasri. He left Syria to come to Cleveland for new opportunities, but it hasn’t been easy. A genetic disorder stiffens his spine and slurs his speech.

Almasri makes and sells Syrian Soul Bracelets at the Root Cafe in Lakewood. The jewelry usually sells within hours.

“We can provide small micro grants to refugees starting a business," said Michelle Taylor, of US Together.

Taylor said her staff teaches financial literacy and helps people build a business plan.

Tigist Gebremichael and Hiriyri Weldesasis came to Cleveland from Africa.

“Different culture, different language, different place," Weldesasis said.

They've been selling dishes at farmer's markets, but in about three months, they'll open their own restaurant, Habesha.

“The product development, the sourcing, the branding, the marketing. helping them communicate their product despite language barriers, through body language," said consultant, Leslie Trotter. “These are truly hardworking entrepreneurs. they want nothing more than to be contributing members of our society."