Canadian Dream

Refugee who fled Algeria more than 3 decades ago now a multi-millionaire in Canada

(Daniele Henkel - Twitter)

Daniele Henkel, a Morocco-born woman, decided to flee Algeria in 1990, when Islamists “were starting to attack girls in the street” and she felt her daughters were no longer safe there. She and her husband decided to give up their stable jobs, left everything behind and took their four children to seek asylum in Canada, where they arrived penniless. “Before moving, the immigration department of Canada had told us that my husband and I would easily find work,” Henkel told the BBC. “In reality, things turned out to be very different.” She spent seven years trying everything, working odd jobs ranging from secretary to selling lunchboxes — until she was “tired of being exploited.” In 1997, Henkel decided to start her own business selling beauty and health products. Drawing inspiration from Algerian and Moroccan bathhouses, she came up with an exfoliating glove that helped improve skin tone, which she called “Renaissance.” It was an instant success, and Daniele’s business ended up selling millions of gloves, allowing her to expand her business to other health and cosmetics products and making her a multi-millionaire. She even became a celebrity in her home state of Quebec after appearing on their local version of Dragon’s Den, a TV series about budding entrepreneurs with business ideas, as one of the judges. Looking back on her life, Henkel says her experiences taught her that people “always have a choice.” She added, “Even when things that you can’t control happen, you can always choose how you react to them.”

Read the full story at the BBC.

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