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Syrian refugee goes nuts for Canada

By Admin User on December 16, 2019

Moving to a new country is tough, but Emad Alqitta has risen to the challenge. He and his family moved from Syria to Canada two years ago to start a new life in Edmonton.

Alqitta fled Syria in 2016 and relocated to Jordan to escape the ongoing conflict, leaving his wife and four children behind. He admits that the decision was tough, but it was one that he had to do.

“It was too dangerous to still live in Syria, so I had to get out. I started looking for a new country, so that’s how the move to Canada started,” he explains.

A sponsor group and some friends in Edmonton contacted Alqitta to help bring him to Canada. Their commitment eventually helped the entire family relocate to a new country, and the Alqittas arrived in Edmonton in January 2017.

The 36-year-old still remembers the day he first stepped foot in Canada. It was -34 degrees celsius and snowing outside, making him wonder whether he could cope with the extreme weather.

“It was the first time I had ever been in that kind of weather. I really didn’t think I’d be able to live in such a cold place because I wasn’t used to it. It took time to get used to, for sure,” he says.

Judith Rohr, a local property manager, sponsored the Alqittas and helped their moved to Canada. She saw how Emad adapted to life in Canada, but she was shocked when he told her his ultimate goal – to start his own business.

“[Emad] told me that he wanted to start his own store selling his homemade nuts, because he had done this in Syria. I told him straight away that it wasn’t the good idea. He didn’t know how hard it is to do something like that in Canada, how to set up a business from nothing,” Rohr says.

Alqitta Nuts serves a variety of coffee beans, roasted nuts and candies.

Alqitta ignored Rohr and his sponsor group’s advice and decided to open his own business: Alqitta Nuts. He now sells a variety of roasted nuts and seeds, as well as coffee beans. The nuts are roasted in an oven he used whilst he was working in Jordan.

Alqitta uses his own personal oven to roast nuts.

Rohr has seen Alqitta Nuts grow into a successful small business, and she has praised Alqitta for his ambition and hard work.

“Emad has had to go through the trouble of moving to a new country and settling in, but he’s done really well. I’m pleased for him and his family, and it’s good to see him doing so well and feeling happy,” Rohr says.

Alqitta is looking forward to his future in Canada, and he has nothing but praise for his new home.

“Canada gave me a chance to start a better life. It really is a great place for people to live,” he says.

The Canadian government resettled over 40,000 refugees between November 2015 and January 2017. A recent study has shown that Canada resettled 28,100 refugees last year – more than any other country.



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