Syrian refugee family shares the fruits of their labour with charity
A Calgary man, who arrived in Canada with his family after fleeing his war-torn homeland, is making good on his promise to pay forward an act of generosity he received shortly after setting foot in his adopted home.
Muhamed El-Daher, his wife Nahima and their children were welcomed by Canadians in June of 2016 after the family escaped Syria
The 39-year-old was a farmer in his homeland and he began a backyard garden once he was established in Calgary. Upon hearing of his background, a property owner offered him a plot of land on the outskirts of the city under the condition El-Daher donated at least 20 per cent of his harvest to charity.
“This land was donated at no charge, for free, to be used for this new family to farm it because that’s where their background is,” explained Sam Nammoura, a cofounder of the Syrian Refugee Support Group in Calgary. “He’s eager to prove to himself and to his family and to his new community that there’s lots that can be done with farming here.”
“He just wants to prove to himself that he can be as successful as a farmer as he was in Syria.”
Speaking through an interpreter, El-Daher says he is very happy and thankful for the opportunities provided to him in Canada and he’s enjoying working alongside his wife and their three children.
“It’s a great feeling to be a family working hand in-hand,” said El-Daher. “Feeling wonderful about what we do as a family together.”
“My children are very happy.”
El-Daher is currently enrolled in school and farms once his classes are done for the day. The newcomer says Alberta’s soil is like gold and the first patch of 750 heads of lettuce will be harvested in the coming days. The yield of the first harvest is earmarked for local charities that assist families in need.
Nammoura says he hopes future harvests will provide income for the family of five, that has a fourth child on the way, and he is attempting to locate a buyer for the vegetables and legumes. “We’re trying to find someone who can buy this produce from (El-Daher) so he can pay some of his expenses because he funded all of this project.”
“Hopefully this will be a step toward their real goal which is a real farm with a house and a barn and kids and cattle.”
In addition to lettuce, El-Daher is attempting to grow zucchini, green beans, fava beans, corn and cucumbers.
With files from CTV's Stephanie Wiebe