Rideau Bridge to Canada’s First Sponsored Family, the Erhayels
A Great Success Story
June 22nd 2017 was a memorable day, Rideau Bridge to Canada welcomed their sponsored Syrian family to Canada at the Ottawa airport. Saleh Erhayel and Ataa Alaboud and their 4 children Ghaydaa, Alaa, Abdulaa and Malak came down the escalator, to be met by an emotional group that was waving welcoming signs in Arabic and English.
In the nearly 2 years since their arrival, much has happened. The family has settled in a rental house on Charlotte Street. Saleh is working part time at two restaurants; Ataa has done occasional work at Mrs McGarrigles; Ghaydaa had a summer job at the Ice Cream Shoppe; and Alaa has a summer job at the Merrickville Blockhouse Museum as a guide. Ghaydaa and Alaa have both done wonderfully well at North Grenville High School, and Abdulaa and Malak have excelled at Merrickville Public School. Alaa has impressed many with his soccer skills, and his English and French are good. Saleh has his full drivers licence, and Ataa and Ghaydaa both passed their G1s. Saleh and Ataa have made great strides in learning English, with regular ESL lessons in Brockville. In short, they have settled into our community very successfully. The nightmare experience of escaping their home city of Daraa is behind them, and Merrickville is providing them with a safe, stable and welcoming environment where their children can flourish, and they all have promising futures.
The Erhayels have made friends with other Syrians in Brockville, meeting them through attendance at language classes, and at prayer meetings. However, both Saleh and Ataa come from large and close families, whom they miss dearly. RBC is now trying to bring a second Syrian family to our area to join them. The Erhayel’s success and happiness will be greatly improved by uniting them with other family members.
Odae Alaboud is a brother of Ataa. He and his wife Haifaa have one three year-old, and a new born baby boy. Odae speaks English, is well educated (currently teaching in Kuwait). Haifaa has some English skills and together they would dearly love to join Ataa and the Erhayels here, where he and his family will be safe and will have the opportunities that we take for granted in Canada. We plan to bring them here, and Rideau Bridge is joined by Holy Trinity Anglican Church (Merrickville) as a co-sponsor in this effort.