MONTREAL – Fleeing conflict in Gaza, Palestinian mother-of-four Hend Elhouseny hopes her volunteering work will help the needy and immigrant women find a new life in Canada.
“I’m out of three wars, and a siege, and a lot of difficulties and conflict, but [I’m] still alive, and here in Canada,” Elhouseny told CBC.
“I have to work, I have to start my life.”
Starting in Canada from zero, she said the community is helping bolster her dreams of creating a new life.
She’s part of a group called Women Weaving Their Dreams that includes about a dozen refugee women in Montreal who cater events.
The 40-year-old Elhouseny arrived in Montreal in June 2017 and started doing volunteer work at PRAIDA, the provincial government organization that helps refugee claimants in their first months in Quebec.
The Montreal City Mission, working in affiliation with the St. James United Church, helped her make money and form a community through the catering group.
“It’s better than buying from restaurants because we’re helping them,” the director of the hosting Al Rawdah Mosque, Samer Elniz said.
Held for the third year, the interfaith Christmas event helped people to celebrate what unifies them rather than what divides them.
“Every organization has a vision, and we have a lot of common visions,” Elniz said.
The dinner is open to the public and will feature food, music and speeches.