Syrian refugee now works in the same hotel that was his first home in Canada


TORONTO – A Syrian refugee living in Toronto is paying him by working in the same hotel where he was first kept when he arrived in Canada.

In 2016, Khalid al-Moukaran and his family arrived in Canada as refugees fleeing civil war in Syria in search of a better life.

“In the first few days in the country, you’re scared,” he told CTV News. “You don’t know what to do, you don’t know how to act, you don’t know how to talk.”

He and his family were previously housed in a hotel in Toronto, while they were revealed to have more permanent housing conditions.

“There wasn’t much to do,” he said. “I had a small window where I spent most of my time looking at the new country from the other side, trying to see whatever was happening on the new peaceful side.”

Al-Mokhtaran began learning English while staying at the hotel, and during this time also learned some of the other customs surrounding life in Canada.

“We learned that if you ever feel insecure you call 911,” he said. “After a few minutes we had firefighters, paramedics, police officers around the building, but nobody found that we had done it.”

During this effort, al-Moukaran said that volunteers and hotel staff made changes in Canada’s life easier.

“I really liked the community that was there,” he said. “We had a great community.”

Al-Moukaran’s family eventually found a more permanent home and moved out of the hotel. Five years later, he is back at the hotel to help those who need it.

“I know what it means to be homeless,” he said. “I know what it means to be a refugee. I know how hard it is and no one really wants to be in the system. “

Al-Moukaran found the job so beneficial that he is considering going to school for social work.

He said, “Sometimes I work 16-hour shifts or longer shifts, but when you go home at the end of the day and put your head on the pillow, what you did gives you happiness.”

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