Man helps refugee fam­ily get new home

Syr­i­ans were home­less after fire de­stroyed their house

Metro Canada (Toronto) - - TORONTO -

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.”

News ser­vice

Khaled Alawad, his wife Judy and their chil­dren, with Alex Ha­ditaghi.torstar

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