You may recall that we ran a Fund What You Can campaign with CultureLink last year to raise funds to train Syrian newcomers in our cafe, to provide them with barista/cafe skills, Canadian work experience, and access to a supportive community. Thanks to our amazing and supportive community (that’s you!) not only was that campaign a complete success, but it also resulted in us receiving a significant anonymous donation in support of that endeavour. A HUGE thanks to whoever you are, anonymous donor!
We’ve been very quiet about this while we considered how best to use these funds, and while we worked with CultureLink to find an individual who we would be best suited to assist. We’re now excited to announce that we’ve begun working with a Syrian refugee who was an accountant in Aleppo. Our goal now is to provide one day of work a week, over a long period, in our office as a financial coordinator, while he continues his own studies in English, and gains Canadian work experience in his actual area of expertise and training.
Now, without further ado, we’d like to introduce you to the newest member of our team, Ahmad ALmohamad. We asked Ahmad to share a bit about himself and his experience so far in Canada and this is what he wrote:
Hello, my name is Ahmad ALmohamad. I came from Syria, where I was born, and I spent most of my years in Aleppo, in northern Syria. I finished my study of accounting at the Government College in 2000 and then started my career and worked with several industrial and commercial businesses, where I gained valuable experience.
I arrived in Canada with my family in January 2016. This was an enormous leap, travelling from East to West. There were many changes and challenges that we had to deal with but it was like a dream for me to get out of the war in Syria (and as a refugee in Lebanon) and to be in a safe place with my family.
In Syria, life was mostly comfortable, everything was available and I was on my way to making a future for myself and my family, but when the war started, it destroyed everything. I escaped with my family to Lebanon, a neighbouring country of Syria. Though we have many relatives in Lebanon, life was very difficult due to the high cost of living. Work was also very hard. I had to work long hours in a very physical job. I am a good worker but I have an injury in my right knee and this job made it worse and was very hard on me.
The United Nations provides assistance to families living in Lebanon but even with that help the situation for me and my family was a disaster in every sense of the word. When I was told that my family and I were chosen to travel to Canada we felt great joy and it was an incredible feeling to finally get security. Allah gave me a second chance and I decided to reclaim my life and build a successful future for me and my family. Again it felt like fate smiled on me here, in my new home of Canada, when I saw the brilliant treatment of everyone I’ve met. I also got this job in the field I like and where I worked for many years in my country. I would like to say thank you to my teacher Cecelia and my classmates and friends for all of their support. I am really looking forward to continuing to work and going back to college to get my degree in accounting. I will strive with all my strength to give back to my new home for giving me this opportunity to reclaim my life and my family.
Be sure to check back next week for an interview with our first Newcomer barista, Lilas Mardini!