Afghan refugees arriving in Calgary are getting a big boost settling into their new lives in the city.
And the man providing the help knows first-hand what a difference it can make.
His offer of subsidized housing for the refugees is benefiting people like Shuaib and Fazila, and their eight-month-old daughter Sama. (To protect their family in Afghanistan, Global News is using only the refugees’ first names).
Having a place to call their own in Calgary comes as a relief after the turmoil and danger they left behind.
“I was always interested in going to school and studying and having a brighter future,” Fazila said. “However, because of the Taliban, I couldn’t do it.”
“It’s really hard,” Fazila’s husband Shuaib said. “We don’t have a future at all (in Afghanistan) — also no future for my daughter.”
The couple is now finding new optimism in their new apartment.
“I am happy – I like my house, my daughter likes it too,” Fazila said. “She enjoys the view as well.”
It’s a place arranged through the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS), which is now helping resettle 169 recent refugees from Afghanistan.
“When we bring them to Calgary, what we really would wish for them is to have an amazing foundation upon which they can build their lives and start their lives again,” CCIS’ Bindu Narula said.
“And having a home is so important.”
The Calgary-based property company Mainstreet Equity Corp., is offering Afghan refugees subsidized housing in several of its apartment buildings around the city.
Read more: Refugee crisis: What can you do to help?
The company’s founder said he knows what important benefits secure housing can bring.
“My family came as economic refugees from Africa — it’s a little bit closer to me, closer to my heart, and if you can solve the housing equation, the rest will fall into its place,” Mainstreet CEO Bob Dhillon said.
“If you give the right tools to an immigrant, they’re going to flourish. We are blessed to be in Canada — we’ve got to give back.”
Just one week into enjoying his family’s new home, Shuaib said he is grateful for all the support that has been provided.
“I want to thank all of the people of Canada,” Shuaib said. “I am happy because I see the best future for my daughter.”