“Ser­vice Leads to Grat­i­tude” Newly-Ar­rived Syr­ian Refugees Give Vol­un­teer a New Per­spec­tive

The Miracle - - Lifestyle -

Mov­ing to a new place can be an ex­cit­ing time for a fam­ily but for Hus­sein Nazari and his young fam­ily mov­ing to Canada meant some­thing en­tirely dif­fer­ent. It meant find­ing refuge in a place where he would no longer have to worry for his fam­ily’s safety day in and day out. It also meant be­ing up­rooted from the place he called home and be­ing sep­a­rated from those he loved with very lit­tle prospect of be­ing able to even visit them. Re­gard­less, the pros far out­weighed the cons. Un­til a few years ago, Hus­sein had only ever heard the term refugee on tele­vi­sion but for the past four years, Hus­sein learned first­hand the mis­ery and de­spair that the R-word comes with. After years of be­ing dis­placed due to the on­go­ing civil war, Hus­sein fi­nally got the news he was look­ing for­ward to. He, his wife and two kids were of­fered asy­lum in Canada, a coun­try he knew very lit­tle about. All he had heard was that Cana­di­ans are gen­er­ous and their leader is a true hu­man­i­tar­ian. With this hope, he packed the bit of be­long­ings he had and got on the plane that flew him and his fam­ily across con­ti­nents, all the way to Van­cou­ver. Not long after their ar­rival, the Mus­lim Food Bank & Com­mu­nity Ser­vices as­signed case­worker Saima Hashim to sup­port Hus-

sein and his fam­ily in their in­te­gra­tion. Since both Hus­sein and his wife Amira spoke English flu­ently, lan­guage wasn’t an is­sue. How­ever, as with a lot of new im­mi­grants, the big­gest chal­lenge for this fam­ily was fi­nan­cial. Though the govern­ment sup­ported Hus­sein’s fam­ily with a monthly stipend, be­cause the kids’ child tax ben­e­fits hadn’t kicked in, their bud­get was still bare bones. Both of Hus­sein’s kids were placed in a school that was not walk­ing dis­tance from their rental apart­ment. This was a a very try­ing time for Hus­sein be­cause he couldn’t af­ford to buy bus passes for them. Saima pre­sented their case to the Mus­lim Food Bank pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor, Hiba Ali, hop­ing she will be able to pro­vide some sup­port at least tem­po­rar­ily. Hiba was fa­mil­iar with Hus­sein’s case and was keenly aware of what their monthly in­come and ex­penses were. She also knew that after all the bills are paid, Mustafa had only $200 left for food for the en­tire month. Hiba had al­ready ar­ranged two weeks worth bus tick­ets for the Nazaris in the past yet she pro­vided them bus tick­ets for an­other two weeks. Thank­fully, as of Septem­ber the fam­ily will be mov­ing closer to the kids’ school so they will no longer have to com­mute. A lady reached out to the Mus­lim Food Bank say­ing she wants to help out. Since she­didn’t have time to vol­un­teer she of­fered to pro­vide mone­tary help to a fam­ily in need. When Saima told her about Hus­sein and his fam­ily, she be­came very ea­ger to as­sist. She spoke to her fam­ily and friends who came to gether to chip in a to­tal of $400. Hus­sein was very grate­ful for re­ceiv­ing the sup­port and used the cash to pur­chase food sup­plies for his fam­ily. To Saima, be­ing able to vol­un­teer for the Mus­lim Food Bank has been a truly re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. For starters, she feels that Hiba goes above and be­yond in sup­port­ing her ef­forts to help her clients. What’s more, she has a new­found grat­i­tude for the bless­ings in her life. “Work­ing with this fam­ily made me a more grate­ful per­son,” Saima as­serts. “For in­stance, we take it for granted that our laun­dry will be con­ve­niently done in our washer and dryer. This fam­ily has to carry their clothes to a Laun­dro­mat.” Saima is re­ally glad she signed up to vol­un­teer for the Mus­lim Food Bank and hasn’t looked back since.“I just felt the need to give. It was a calling and that’s when this op­por­tu­nity came up. My hus­band and I work on cases to­gether,” Saima said with a spark in her eyes. Hus­sein has had quite a bit of progress in the first few months since he ar­rived in Canada. Last week, he was ac­cepted into a role in an ar­chi­tec­ture firm with a three-month pro­ba­tion pe­riod. “He has taken this up work so he can get some cash flow­ing and get Cana­dian ex­pe­ri­ence,” Saima states. Saima feels that sup­port­ing this fam­ily as well as other peo­ple in need has been a great priv­i­lege of her life and she thanks the Mus­lim Food Bank for cre­at­ing such a great plat­form. 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 con­[email protected]­lim­food­bank.com and tele­phone num­ber is 1-866-824-2525

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