Abeer* arrived a few years ago from Palestine as a Government Assisted Refugee and she recalls the feeling of safety, hope and stability when she was welcomed by Wesley staff.

Abeer, her husband and children arrived during a very cold winter. “We had a problem getting used to the cold weather, however, we have gotten used to it over time.” Her husband has a disability, having had his right leg amputated and continues to have difficulty with his vision. “I suffered a lot and I’m still suffering with his health issues. I am the one who helps him at home and accompanies him to all his medical appointments and other outings.”

Since coming to Canada, Abeer has been taking care of her husband, taken ESL classes and also completed the Wesley Food Service Training program to gain more work related skills and experience in the Canadian context. In the program, she received training, including food handler certification, tips on applying for jobs and hands-on experience working at the First Start Café. She enjoyed her time at the Café and interacting with customers.

“I would wash my hands, put on my apron and ask the customers if they would like anything, such as coffee, tea and food. I felt happy serving them,” Abeer said. Abeer loves to cook middle eastern food and her favourite dish is made with tomatoes, garlic, red and green pepper and lemon juice. “Cooking is a way to relax especially if you feel a sense of oppression.”

She is continuing to build her new life in Canada and she remains steadfast in the life she wants to live. “My goal is to have my family around me and to spend a happy life with them.” Wesley settles government assisted refugees when they arrive in Canada, including their initial stay in temporary accommodation and support for up to twelve to eighteen months of living in permanent housing.

If you’d like to support people with lived experience like Abeer, you can donate to our programs here or apply to be a volunteer in one of our programs here.

If you’d like to learn about refugee resettlement at Wesley and our Newcomer & Community Services portfolio, please click here.

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