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Success Story: In the Kitchen with Leila

Leila with her homemade dip
Chef Leila with her homemade Garlic, Herbs and Yogury dip.

Meet Leila Murjan, an asset to our Project CHOP team and a superstar in the kitchen.

Murjan came aboard Project CHOP after relocating to San Diego from Syria. She became a chef in Beruit, Lebanon, and to her working with Project CHOP is a dream come true.

“I was a housewife [in Syria] and wasn’t able to work because my husband did,” said Murjan. “I enjoy being able to work and make money in the kitchen doing what I love.”

She originally fled from Syria to Beirut, Lebanon. Her husband was unable to find work so she flexed her culinary muscles and gained experience in a professional kitchen. She worked in a restaurant for a number of years until she and her family were resettled to the United States. After arriving in San Diego, she enrolled in the IRC’s Vocational ESL program and soon after joined Project CHOP to provide for her family.

Leila makes carrot roses for Project CHOP platters
Chef Leila creates all of the rose carrots and other artistic garnishes for Project CHOP veggie platters.

Through her experiences with Project CHOP, Murjan has gained a culinary job at the University of San Diego and will be starting in August.

“Project CHOP has encouraged and pushed me to find a job outside of this one,” said Murjan. “Before I couldn’t imagine I would come to the United States and get a job, progress in this job, and gain another job. It is very strange to me but it is a dream and I have now achieved this dream.”

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