February 27, 2019 5:05 pm
Updated: February 27, 2019 5:42 pm

Syrian refugees in Peterborough raise money for victims of fatal Halifax fire

The tragic death of seven members of a Syrian refugee family last week in Nova Scotia has sparked a reaction among Syrian families in Peterborough.


Many of the students in the English language learner program at Peterborough’s Thomas A. Stewart Secondary School are refugees from Syria, and they were devastated by the deaths of seven children from the Barho family, also Syrian refugees, in a house fire Feb. 15 in Halifax.

READ MORE: More help on the way for family that lost seven children to house fire: MP

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According to teacher Vanessa Woodacre, the students wanted to send their love to the survivors. One of the students learned to bake in a Turkish refugee camp and suggested making traditional Turkish bread as a fundraiser for the family.

“We have a large Syrian population at TASSS,” Woodacre said. “The kids felt compelled to give and it’s a lesson in grief and gratitude. Omer Hattab, one of my students, chose the recipe and the students decided we should invite some of the moms in.”

Some of the mothers who helped are part of the Newcomer’s Kitchen, which makes traditional Syrian food at the Peterborough Downtown Farmer’s Market. Hattab says he’s happy to share his skills with the larger community.

“Two years ago, I was working in Turkey,” Hattab says. “I learned Turkish bread, Syrian bread, Canadian bread. I like to teach other people, and I will try to open a business.”

READ MORE: Refugee chocolatier announces plans to ‘give back’ to Canada, hire 50 refugees by 2022

More than $1,500 was raised through the bread-making efforts of the students, moms and TASSS culinary arts teachers.

WATCH: Halifax rallies around Syrian couple after deadly fire


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