Zaytouna Foods provides Syrian refugee women in South Florida with jobs

Posted at 3:36 PM, Jun 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 10:11:10-04

The Syrian war forced Christa Tawil and 25 other families to move to Miami.

"We had no choice, at the end there was no electricity, no water and it’s just not livable," said Christa.

Christa was living in Aleppo but as the civil war continued, she came to the U.S. in 2012 with a mission. She quickly connected with other Syrian refugee women and would teach them English.

"I started doing pro-bono translation for these ladies and at these supper clubs, I realized that all of these people who were attending, really wanted more of the food," she said.

That’s when Zaytouna Foods was born. In 2017, Christa started hiring refugees to help cater events with foods from her grandmother’s recipe book.

For many of these women, it’s their first time having a job and earning their own money.

"These people come here and they don’t have a language, they don’t have a way to make income, they’ve never worked in their lives, they don’t understand why you need two incomes because that’s not really something in our culture," she said.

"It was important to offer something that anyone can do. They can take a chance. Someone had to take a chance on them," said Aaron Dreilinger, owner of Munch.

Christa had the help of a friend. Aaron provided space in his commercial kitchen.

"When I met Christa, she had a better view of what’s next and that’s not only these people need jobs but we need to gainfully employ and lift up from there," said Aaron.

The mission behind her company gained attention from Whole Foods. The grocery chain sells her products from the cookies to the baklava. This then led her to expand by selling online and offering take-out.

"Baba G’s is a concept that is “ready to order”. So you can order dinner for yourself, lunch or dessert. This is something that is going to be readily available than order catering for bigger events," said Christa.

For Christa, her sweet venture is the chance to not only find prosperity but provide opportunity.

"It’s just such a blessing to be in a great place and be able to realize a dream that you would’ve never thought was possible," said Christa.

For more information about Zaytouna Foods, click here.