Ontario mayor temporarily lends his home to Syrian refugees
The mayor of a small Ontario town says giving up his home to a family of five Syrian refugees for nearly half a year was a no brainer.
Eric Duncan, the mayor of North Dundas, Ont., a community of 2,400 people about 50 kilometres south of Ottawa, said he wanted the family to have a smooth transition to life in Canada.
So, for five months, the mayor moved in with his mother.
“Myself being single and having a mother nearby that I could live with, I said I would give up my house so the family could move here, get settled into Canada and then figure out where in Winchester or North Dundas they wanted to live,” Dundan told CTV Ottawa.
The arrangement gave parents Dania Al Muazzen and Adel Al Ghorani a space to raise their three kids while they saved up to open their own store.
“The kids are enjoying it here. They like it,” said Al Muazzen.
They settled in North Dundas thanks to 20 people in the community, who raised enough money in 2015 to privately sponsor the family from war-torn Syria.
After a five-month stay, the family has moved into their own rental unit in town. On their fridge, they’ve placed a photo of the team of volunteers who greeted them when they arrived in Canada.
“People stepped up and donated furniture, everything. It’s just been really, really heartwarming,” Duncan said.
The kindness of Canadians has been overwhelming, Al Ghorani said.
“When I walk, everybody here says hello,” he says.
The mayor said the kind gesture was the least he could do. And it came with some decent perks.
“People said that must be such a hard struggle. And I was like, I get three meals a day, I get laundry – it was amazing,” he said.
With files from CTV Ottawa