Haitham Alalwah (centre) was interviewed at the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada classes by Rasha Fahim and Cristian Medina, Immigrant Services Kingston and Area youth settlement workers with Kingston Community Health Centres. Translation of the interview from Arabic to English was provided by Rasha Fahim.
I have been here in Canada only four months. Within these four months, I have become very familiar with everything around me in Kingston. I know how to get to the main grocery stores, how to get to ISKA, KEYS, my ESL school. I am extremely happy here in Kingston. It is first of all, safe for my children and it is their future here. I also have a future here. Currently I am working at Gabriel Pizza, I am happy and my children are with me in a decent apartment, going to wonderful schools. The services that I used within my four month stay here are; dental services, ISKA with their snowsuits, food hampers, and boot distribution. There was also a church close to where we live that helped us with school supplies. It has become a comfortable and easy life for us here in Kingston.
The struggles that we face now is the limited job opportunities. I find it difficult to find a job within my experience and background. Also, the cost of living here is quite expensive in comparison to other cities. I believe that if I can save some money to secure my future, I can develop and aspire to reach my career, but with limited opportunities and high cost of living it becomes a big challenge. The educational opportunities here are great, whether it is for my children or me. I was able to obtain my G1 and I am working on getting my G2, I just wish I can be given the opportunity to work to make the money I need to obtain the career of my dreams.
Newcomers to Kingston - like Haitham - rely on the Community Refugee Relief Fund to have a happy start in our city. Ongoing donations to the fund are appreciated and can be made at UnitedWayKFLA.ca/refugeerelief
Learn more about the City of Kingston’s partnership in supporting the Community Refugee Relief Fund at CityofKingston.ca/refugees