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Dalhousie nursing grads plant tree in memory of Barho children

The Barho children all perished in a house fire in Halifax Feb. 19, 2019. They are (L-R) Rola, 12; Ahmad, 14; Ola, 8; Mohamad, 9; Hala, 3; Rana, 2; Abdullah, four months. HEART Society/Facebook

A small group of friends and community members attended a ceremony where a tree was planted near the Emera Oval, located on the Halifax North Common, in memory of the seven Barho children who lost their lives in a fatal fire about four months ago.

“It quietly popped up and that’s the way we wanted it to be,” said Nichole Gloade, a Dalhousie nursing graduate who came up with the idea for a memorial with her friend and fellow nursing graduate, Sally Sukkar.

“We didn’t want to draw attention for the family where the funeral was large and they really couldn’t grieve alone,” said Gloade.

BScN Class of 2019 Graduates Sally Sukkar (L), Nichole Gloade (R) and Ahmad Hussein, Chairman of Ummah Mosque and Community Centre.
BScN Class of 2019 Graduates Sally Sukkar (L), Nichole Gloade (R) and Ahmad Hussein, Chairman of Ummah Mosque and Community Centre. Dalhousie University

READ MORE: Investigation into Barho house fire remains open nearly 4 months later

About 15 people attended, including members of the Barho family’s mosque, Gloade’s and Sukkar’s class and faculty from Dalhousie Health on May 27th.

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Gloade said after the fire happened, she couldn’t stop thinking about it.

“Being a mother myself, it deeply affected me. I kept thinking about it and I decided to go contact one of my nursing friends from my class, Sally, and I asked her if she wanted to do something with me as an act of kindness for the family,” said Gloade.

After much thinking, the two friends decided on planting a maple tree, donated by Baldwin Nursery, and have a granite marker placed next to it.

The granite marker for the memorial of the Barho children 
The granite marker for the memorial of the Barho children . Dalhousie University

The marker, which came from Heritage Memorials, has the children’s names and ages written on it in both English and Arabic.

“We chose the maple tree because they’re new Canadians and the maple tree is part of the Canadian flag. It just felt right,” she said.

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READ MORE: More relatives of Barho family, who lost 7 children in Halifax house fire, to arrive in Canada

Sukkar said the memorial was shown to the mother, Kawthar Barho, in a meeting where she was consulted.

“It’s a very hard topic to discuss, but it’s very important to show our support and let them know that we’re always here for them,” said Sukkar.

According to Gloade, Kawthar Barho has chosen the Oval as the place for the tree because the children loved being there.

READ MORE: Halifax fire investigation could prompt change in how new homes are built

Gloade said “there’s a couple of things” that she wants people to think about as they pass the memorial.

“Be kind to others. You push too much hate in the world and as a nurse we have so much compassion for everyone,” she said.

“The other thing is [I want the tree] to be a reminder of these beautiful children that [are] still part of the community, and with this tree, we wanted it to grow in place of where they can’t as a reminder that they’re important, loved and not forgotten.”
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