Rothesay’s new Syrian barber is a cut above

Mounzer Al Darsani with well-wishers in front of his new salon on Gallowgate.
Mounzer Al Darsani with well-wishers in front of his new salon on Gallowgate.

A Syrian refugee who has just opened a business on Bute has said a big thank-you to islanders for their support.

Mounzer Al Darsani was determined to rebuild a life for his family after they arrived on the island in late 2015.

He had been a barber for 16 years, with his own shop, when he was forced to flee Syria because of the fighting.

His wish to get back to his trade came true last Saturday when he officially opened the Orient Salon on Gallowgate in Rothesay.

And his first customer was Argyll and Bute MP Brendan O’Hara, who was treated to an expert shave.

Mr Al Darsani said: “Since February 2016 I have been working to improve my English and begin working again in my profession as a hairdresser.

“After just one year I have managed to achieve both of these goals, and none of this would have been possible without the huge support I have received from people here on the island, as well as support agencies and my family. I would love to have the opportunity to thank the people of Bute and provide inspiration to other Syrians who have been resettled across the country.”

He was supported by Morag Brown, Argyll and Bute Council’s business improvement manager, and the council’s Business Gateway department.

She said: “As soon as he arrived on Bute, Mounzer was keen to set up a business similar to the one he had in Syria.

“He worked very hard to learn English, and we helped him to research the opportunities and the challenges he had, and eventually to make a business application.

“But really it was all down to Mounzer; he has been inspirational.”