By Catherine Leckey
Raed Al Salkhadi has shared with the parishes of St Simon’s and St Jude’s of Oakville the happy news that on November 2, 2021 he became a Canadian citizen. Raed is the eldest of the three children of the Al Salkhadi family, which in April 2017 arrived in Oakville as refugees from Syria, by way of Jordan, and were sponsored by the two parishes as part of the Diocesan Refugee Initiative.
War overturned the comfortable life that Raed enjoyed as a young child in Syria. On his arrival in Canada, speaking no English, he was thrown into grade 9. He persevered, graduating from St Thomas Aquinas Secondary School in June 2020 in the midst of the pandemic. He is in his second year of the Police Foundations program at Humber College and hopes for a career in law enforcement. He learned to drive and works part-time at Fortinos.
As we congratulate Raed and rejoice in his success, we recognize what a privilege it has been to share his journey and how much we have learned from witnessing the courage and tenacity he showed in beginning a new life in Canada, despite the trauma of war and loss. For his part, Raed hopes his story will encourage others to support displaced families in need of a new home.
We have learned recently that Raed’s mother, Rabea, has passed her citizenship exams and will soon join her son as a Canadian citizen.