First Families Sponsored by RBC

Rideau Bridge to Canada’s First Sponsored Families:  the Erhayels and the Al Abouds.

A Great Success Story

June 22nd 2017 was a memorable day, Rideau Bridge to Canada welcomed their first sponsored Syrian family to Canada at the Ottawa airport. Saleh Erhayel and Ataa Al Aboud 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 more than 3 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 while seeking full time employment.. Ataa and Ghaydaa are working at a local store in the Village. Alaa is working at part time while attending high school. Ghaydaa has finished high school and plans to attend college. Alaa has one more year at North Grenville High School. Abdulaa is also at high school and Malak excels at Merrickville Public School. The children are fully fluent in English (and Alaa in French) and Saleh and Ataa completed the 2 year ESL course offered 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.

In October 2020, Ataa’s brother Odae and his family arrived in Canada as RBCs second sponsored family. Odae and his wife Haifaa have two children: Sham (5) and Zain (2). Odae is a highly educated mathematician with a PhD from University of Damascus. Sham is going to Merrickville Public School, which she loves. Zain stays home with his mother for the moment. Odae speaks and writes excellent English, and is helping Haifaa and the children with their English. He has a job as Visiting Professor at the Mathematics Department at Carleton University. He is teaching two calculus courses in the Fall Term of 2021, and is doing advanced research with colleagues at Carleton. The Al Abouds are living in Merrickville in a rental apartment.

Rideau Bridge was joined as a co-sponsor for the second family by Holy Trinity Anglican Church of Merrickville.