A Syrian Man Finds Success in Canada
At the height of the Syrian upheaval in 2013, Taha Abadi witnessed the destruction of his hometown before his eyes. Bullet holes covered the walls of schools and hospitals. The noise of the shootings silenced the streets and the falling of the bombs forced people to run for safety every few days. What the United Nations dubbed as ‘the great tragedy of our century’ was Taha’s reality though it all felt like a terrible nightmare. Not a single day went by when Taha didn’t imagine the worst case scenario for his four kids. The throes of war forced him to move his young family to Jordan but moving to a new country didn’t come without challenges. How was Taha going to pay for rent and food? Taha wasn’t picky about what kind of work he is willing to do. He took up the first job that came his way so he could put food on the table. After many years of sheer struggle, things finally took a turn for the better when Taha’s application to seek asylum in Canada was accepted. When Taha first arrived in BC last year, he wasn’t sure if he should go back to school, get some sort of certification, learn English or look for flooring work, a trade he had years of experience in. But he was sure of one thing and that was to become financially independent within one year of immigrating to Canada.The Muslim Food Bank Community Services tasked caseworker Saalih Abdurraheem in helping Taha navigate the Canadian job market. When Saalih first met Taha, he really appreciated his keen interest in being able to provide for his family himself.“He insisted that he doesn’t want to go on welfare assistance,” Saalih recalls. Saalih’s familiarity with Syrian culture helped him in creating a trusting bond with Taha and his family. Saalih lived in Syria for fifteen years before he moved to Canada and knows all too much about what it’s like to be a refugee. He is among hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians who were forced to take refuge in neighboring countries such as Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.Saalih was determined to help Taha not only secure a job but to also support him overcome the challenges that come with being newcomers in Canada. “Newcomers miss their family back home and go through what is called cultural shock,” Saalih explains. “In the first few months, they feel that they are not going to be able to adapt to fit in the new environment.” Saalih consoled Taha by telling him that every new immigrant to Canada goes through this period and that patience is key to overcoming this difficult phase. Saalih also understood that being the breadwinner what Taha needed most was finding work. Saalih felt that Taha’s inability to speak English would be an impediment to securing a job but he didn’t give up. He taught Taha the basics of how the job market here works and created a resume for him from scratch. He also encouraged Taha to volunteer so he would have some Canadian experience to speak of. Having connections in the local construction industry also came in handy. Saalih referred Taha to his friend, Zayn, who works in flooring. After just one day of Taha volunteering with Zayn, he was offered a job. Six month later, Saalih met Taha to get an update on how he is doing. Saalih was delighted to find out that Taha had secured a contract to do flooring for all sixteen storeys of an apartment building. Taha didn’t have to tell Saalih how happy he was, he could see it in his eyes. “I am really very, very happy for him,” Saalih said. He is quite amazed at the level of success Taha has achieved in such a short amount of time and credits Taha’s determination for it. These are real stories where our volunteers have an impact on members of our community helping them progress in their lives. InshaAllah next week we will bring you another story. Please join us to have a purpose in your life to make a difference in the lives of your brothers and sisters by coming to our events and registering as a volunteer or donating to your organization, the Muslim Food Bank and Community Services Society (usually referred to as Muslim Food Bank) at www.muslimfoodbank.com/donate. Our email is contact muslimfoodbank.com andtelephone number is 1-866-824-2525.