A Syrian soapmaker is washing away the stains of the past with the opening of a new business in Calgary, where he came to settle after fleeing his home and abandoning his family business in Aleppo two years ago.

Abdul Fatah Sabouni says he’s extremely grateful to Canada for welcoming him as a refugee from his wartorn country. Sabouni, who came to the country as a government-sponsored refugee, has spent the last two years learning English, making soap at home and teaming up with other Syrian newcomers to establish a store in Calgary.

The fourth-generation soapmaker completed an unlikely comeback story on Saturday, when he opened the doors of Aleppo Savon to the public.

“When I lost everything in the war in Syria, I thought my life and my kids’ lives were finished,” he told CTV Calgary. “But Canada and Canadians gave me and my family and my business a new chance.”

Sabouni’s new shop produces 300 kilograms of handmade soap per day, with all of it made using natural ingredients.