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Ahmed and Language Instructor Rose.

Ahmed Ubeyd wants you to understand what his family has been through.

“I want to share my story for my sister, because she is in danger,” he says.

Ahmed is 25 years old, and his dream has always been to become a doctor, engineer, or teacher. His education in Syria was cut short when he was taken out of school to work as a barber at the young age of 13. After the outbreak of war in 2015, Ahmed and his parents travelled to Turkey where he continued working as a barber. The adjustment to the new culture and language was slow and difficult, but he was happy to be able to work.

When the family learned they would be coming to Canada, there were many mixed emotions. They would have to leave some family members – namely his sister and her husband – behind.

Ahmed and his family landed in the tiny Saint John airport with other Syrians in March 2016. He was given a “celebrity’s welcome” and recalls the crowd of friendly New Brunswickers holding up signs and waving to greet him, welcoming him to his new home. He says this was the best thing that happened to him so far in Canada.

In the summer of 2017, the family received the difficult news that his brother-in-law had been killed as a result of war, leaving his sister alone in a dangerous city. Ahmed says he is scared for his sister. She is always on his mind and he is working hard to bring her to Canada.

Ahmed and his brother organized and hosted a Syrian dinner at local restaurant Taco Pica, to fundraise money for his sister’s journey to Canada. The event was very successful, but did not raise enough money to fully support her sponsorship. The Ubeyd brothers sent the money to help their sister, and have recently organized a second fundraising dinner at the restaurant.

Despite Ahmed’s constant worry for his sister, he is adjusting to life in Canada quite well and has found it “very easy” to make friends here. He is even on the path toward his education goals; he currently attends English classes at the YMCA and is in level 3. In the future, he hopes to go to school in Saint John and pursue his career goals. 

There has also been, in his words, a “wonderful change” in his personal life since arriving in Canada. His mother was attending a seminar and met a young woman around Ahmed’s age. She spoke with the girl and when she got home told Ahmed, “there’s a girl for you.” Just like that, they began the road to marriage. The whole community came together to celebrate the happy couple’s marriage in the summer of 2017 in Saint John.

Ahmed’s dream for the future is “the world must live in peace.” He says “we are enjoying Canada and we love Canada” because the country “help us to live in freedom.”  His only wish is that people could understand what has happened to his family, and that his sister could experience the freedom that he now does in our great city.