Every morning Wael drops his wife off at English classes while he makes his way to his furniture shop. His young children are in school while his oldest son works part-time at a grocery store. It’s a typical Canadian life.
Two years ago, though, life for the Aun family was anything but typical or peaceful. Like millions of Syrians, they were forced to flee a brutal civil war. The family business was destroyed, their home reduced to rubble and their future unclear.
Thankfully, Canada opened its doors to them and more than 25,000 Syrian refugees, providing them with a new life and a safe home. The Auns were one of the many families that embraced their new community and culture.
We helped them find their first home, enroll their children into school, navigate their community, learn a language and make friends. Just as importantly, we helped them feel safe again and to dream of a better future for them and their children.
One of Wael’s dreams came true this year. He started a furniture repair and refinishing company in east Ottawa. It’s only been five months but he’s starting to build a solid customer base. He says he wants to pay his taxes, support his family and eventually buy a house so that his family of six can move out of the apartment they live in now. He works six days a week and dreams of expanding his small business and hiring Canadians to work for him.
The children are doing well in school. Hussein is in Grade 9 and loves to play soccer while Khajeaa, who is in Grade 5, loves to play basketball. Khaled, who is 20, is practicing his English while helping the family earn money by working in a grocery store close to where they live. The youngest child, Hanna, was born in Canada 10 months ago while Mariam is three-years-old.
During the summer, the younger children love to go fishing with their father.
“I love fishing. Canada is such a beautiful country and there are so many nice places to fish. We never keep the fish. We just like to go out, bring lots of food, and fish,” says Wael.
Life in Canada is good and getting better, he says, but they still worry about family members still in Syria. The oldest son lives with Wael’s mother in Syria. They talk every day and stay connected thanks to the Internet. The renewed fighting worries him but his mother is nowhere near the recent surge of violence.
He says he tries to stay positive and avoid the news. In the shop, he only plays local radio. He says it’s a great way to practise his English and feel more Canadian.
With your support, we can help more families like the Auns. Please make a donation today.