New res­i­dents forge new paths

Awards be­ing pre­sented to three area new­com­ers on March 14 in Truro

Truro Daily News - - COLCHESTER COUNTY - FRAM DINSHAW [email protected]­ @truro­daily

TRURO, N.S. – Three unas­sum­ing new­com­ers to Truro will be hon­oured Satur­day, March 14 for their ef­forts in mak­ing their new home a hap­pier place for all.

Hair­dresser Nour Kojo, prospec­tive restau­ran­teur Ham­mad Fa­rooq and out­door en­thu­si­ast Mike Knowl­ton each re­ceived a New­comer Award fol­low­ing sub­mis­sions by their bosses and clients.

Kojo, Fa­rooq and Knowl­ton will be pre­sented with their awards at Truro’s Nowruz (Per­sian New Year) ban­quet at the Rath-east­link Com­mu­nity Cen­tre on March 14.


Age: 24

From: Idlib, Syria

Moved to Truro: 2018 Cur­rent job: hair­dresser at Square Roots Hair and Es­thet­ics

In the eyes of Michelle Leblanc, Nour Kojo is “a lit­tle ray of sun­shine,” bright­en­ing up the Square Roots Hair and Es­thet­ics hairdressi­ng salon in Bi­ble Hill.

But it wasn’t al­ways easy for Kojo to shine, of­ten shut­tling be­tween Syria and Le­banon for her fa­ther’s work, even be­fore civil war en­gulfed her home­land.

Trapped in Le­banon as fight­ing raged in her birth city of Idlib, Kojo and her fam­ily fi­nally made it to Truro in late 2018, spon­sored by the Im­manuel Bap­tist Church.

“I’m so happy, be­cause a lot of peo­ple helped me to have a new life,” Kojo said, in halt­ing English. “I find a lot of peo­ple smile al­ways.”

Kojo has no trou­ble smil­ing back, en­joy­ing light-hearted chit-chat with her hairdressi­ng clients while on the job.

It was her up­beat na­ture that first earned Kojo a New­comer Award nom­i­na­tion from Leblanc, who has high hopes for her young em­ployee.

“She’s go­ing to buy me out so I can re­tire,” Leblanc said.

Kojo lives in Truro with her fa­ther, sis­ter and two broth­ers.


Age: 28

From: Jhelum, Pak­istan Moved to Truro: 2016 Cur­rent job: su­per­vi­sor at KFC/TACO Bell, Truro Ham­mad Fa­rooq’s life­long dream has been to have his own restau­rant, where he can serve up the spicy and savoury flavours of his na­tive Pak­istan.

And, he feels those plans are on track in his cur­rent ca­pac­ity as a su­per­vi­sor at the KFC/TACO Bell restau­rant on Ro­bie Street, where he works to en­sure a smooth din­ing ser­vice for cus­tomers.

“I feel most sat­is­fied help­ing peo­ple,” Fa­rooq said. “At KFC I have a lead­er­ship role and I can help both in­ter­na­tional work­ers and Cana­di­ans get set­tled. I wanted to teach them the right way of do­ing things as I took a food sciences course dur­ing my de­gree.”

Fa­rooq is a grad­u­ate of the Weed Science pro­gram at the Dal­housie Agri­cul­tural Cam­pus in Bi­ble Hill.

Fran­shise owner Don Hay nom­i­nated Fa­rooq for the award af­ter ob­serv­ing his ded­i­ca­tion to­ward col­leagues and cus­tomers.

“It is an hon­our for us,” Fa­rooq said of the recog­ni­tion. “I am very thank­ful to the owner and my whole team.”

Fa­rooq re­cently took a short leave of ab­sence from work, to help his wife Amna care for their baby Meerab, who was born Feb. 29, on the 2020 Leap Year.


Age: 54

From: Toronto via Hal­i­fax Moved to Truro: 2019 Cur­rent Job: sales as­so­ciate at Hub Cy­cle

As a cor­po­rate-sec­tor vet­eran from Toronto, Mike Knowl­ton wanted noth­ing more than a gen­tler pace of life.

He found it in Truro as a sales­per­son at Hub Cy­cle’s Inglis Place store and through lead­ing reg­u­lar hikes and fat-bik­ing ses­sions for clients in Vic­to­ria Park. Knowl­ton has been nick­named the “Pied Piper of Truro,” by some, for his fre­quent guided walks through the woods.

But the rel­a­tive Truro new­comer never once sus­pected his clients and friends ap­pre­ci­ated his ef­forts enought to sub­mit his name for a New­comer Award.

“I’m hum­bled, ap­pre­cia­tive and hon­oured,” Knowl­ton said.

By stay­ing ac­tive and in­volved in his new home, Knowl­ton hopes to achieve a healthy work-life bal­ance, which he said was of­ten lack­ing in Toronto.

“If you give peo­ple a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence, they rec­og­nize that,” Knowl­ton said. “I think when you get peo­ple to step out­side their com­fort zone, they rec­og­nize you for help­ing them find the bal­ance in their lives.”

Of­fi­cial recog­ni­tion aside, how­ever, Knowl­ton said his real re­ward is see­ing the smiles on peo­ple’s faces af­ter lead­ing them on a trek or a bike ride through the park.


Ham­mad Fa­rooq wants to use his ex­pe­ri­ence as a KFC su­per­vi­sor to start his own Pak­istani-themed fast-food restau­rant in Truro, serv­ing del­i­ca­cies like chicken biryani.


Nour Kojo of­ten moved be­tween Syria and Le­banon be­fore com­ing to Truro with her fam­ily in 2018. She now works as a hair­dresser and has a steady stream of clients.

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