Syrian refugee family fashions new life in N.S.
Published Friday, January 6, 2017 11:18AM AST
In the small community of Mahone Bay, N.S. a group of residents fundraised to privately sponsor a family of Syrian refugees – a husband, wife, and young son.
The Iso family arrived last fall and is now working hard to fashion a new life on the south shore.
“Mahone Bay is very quiet…but people very nice, funny every time, I like people in Mahone Bay,” says Rezan Iso, Syrian refugee.
Iso once had lots of work as a tailor and designer, making women's clothing in Istanbul and before that, war-torn Syria. Now, he is getting back to parts of the life he left behind, working part-time sewing for Lunenburg milliner, Anna Shoub.
“I wrote a little help-wanted ad, posted it on Facebook, and a friend that volunteers for the refugee group told me that Rezan was a tailor and I thought ‘well, I may as well try’ and he's great,” says Shoub. “He kind of upped my production after one meeting, so yeah, I decided to keep him.”
Iso is still working on his English and Shoub doesn't really speak Arabic, but they make it work.
“You actually don't need that many words when you can look at the piece that you're sewing,” says Shoub.
“I like Anna,” says Iso.
Once Shoub saw his talent, she was inspired to reach out to the community for help and was able to secure two industrial sewing machines for him.
“I thought if we get him set up with those machines in his own home then he can do the work for me, and then he can also be making his own dresses, and he makes beautiful dresses,” says Shoub. “Maybe he'll get all the women in Nova Scotia to wear silk and satin before long.”
It's just one way residents have come together to help the whole family, finding them a home, driving them to English classes, spending the holidays with them.
There are efforts underway by members of the Mahone Bay and area refugee sponsorship group to bring Iso's in-laws to Canada, to give the family further support as they continue to build a new life in their new country.
It will be a long process, but Iso hopes to start his own tailoring business and secure a new future for his family - step by step, stitch by stitch.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Heidi Petracek