Syrian refugee who settled in Exeter wants Government to give other refugees chance to thrive

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A Syrian refugee who is now settled in Exeter with his family is calling on the Government to give all refugees a chance to succeed as he has.

Khaled Deakin came to Devon as a refugee five years ago. He moved with his family through a Home Office resettlement scheme.

He is hoping to set up his own business selling traditional Syrian food, and is crowdfunding to raise money for a mobile food truck.

Khaled hopes that bringing his passion for food to people will help connect them with his memories of how Syria used to be:

"This kind of stuff will make people pay attention 'Oh where is that smell coming from? Oh From this truck. Where is he from? From Syria. He has a fez, he has traditional clothes'."

Khaled says sharing food is a really good way of kind of bringing cultures together.

"It is the best way actually. The key to the brain, to make people love you, feed the belly.

"We promised to ourselves that we are going to love human beings and feed them especially the hungry ones. Any human being who is hungry, who doesn't have money can come and eat free from Khaled's Taste of Syria. That is the plan, the goal."

Credit: Khaled Deakin

Khaled already distributes meals in Exeter with other volunteers through a group called St Thomas Food Fight.

His plan has even been highlighted in the House of Commons, with shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Alison McGovern saying last week: "Restarateur Khaled Deakin is creating a mobile restaurant in Exeter because, Madam Deputy Speaker, refugees bring their contribution and they make our country strong not weak."

Khaled says people just need to be given a chance to help themselves:

"No-one came to this country from Syria, or other countries, with no skills but they just need something to help them, to give them the positive feeling to start, to give them the key. That is a good plan, instead of sending them overseas or back to Syria which would be even more horrible."

The crowdfunder he set up has already passed two thirds of its target and Khaled hopes one day his love of traditional Syrian food could turn into a whole fleet of food trucks or even a restaurant.