Man helps refugee family get new home
Syrians were homeless after fire destroyed their house
In the space of three days, a family of Syrian refugees who lost everything in a house fire has ridden an emotional rollercoaster, experiencing everything from frightening tragedy to overwhelming gratitude for the kindness of strangers.
On Sunday morning, Khaled Alawad did not know where to turn. “I have lost myself,” he said in an interview as he surveyed the scorched remains of his Mississauga townhome.
On Sunday night, local businessman Alex Haditaghi heard about Alawad’s plight. Deeply moved, Haditaghi, who came to Canada as a refugee from Iran in 1988, called Torstar News Service to say he would offer the family of five an apartment, rent-free for a year, in one of his North York buildings.
On Monday morning, Alawad, his wife and three children met their benefactor for the first time outside an apartment building on Sheppard Avenue. Haditaghi greeted the family, who were dressed in clothes donated by a friend, before leading them indoors to choose an apartment.
Haditaghi said he decided to reach out to them after reading about the family’s ordeal.
Alawad initially suspected his family had been targeted after a man came to his home on Friday and argued with him about a bike that he said was his. The man then allegedly tried to break into the home. A man has been arrested in that incident, although police stress they are making no connection between that and the fire the next day.
“I know what it feels like not to have anything,” Haditaghi said. “My family was refugees, and I know what it feels like to be a refugee and be homeless.”
Khaled Alawad, his wife Judy and their children, with Alex Haditaghi.torstar