Maysaa Haj Ali, 2017 Honoured Mother
Maysaa Haj Ali, an Ottawa HIPPY mother is one of the honoured mothers at the Because Mothers Matter Award event 2017. Here is her story:
Maysaa is from Syria, where she happily lived with her husband, who was a farmer and owner of a taxi business, and her children, until the war forced their move. For three years, Maysaa and her family were refugees in Jordan before the United Nations helped them relocate to Canada.
Adjusting to Canadian weather was difficult at first. It was so cold in Ottawa when they arrived in January 2016 that they hardly left the hotel where they were living. Maysaa is happy that her family was able to come to Canada to live a better life and has found many services available to them when they arrived helped to ease the transition.
Maysaa began the HIPPY program with her youngest son shortly after their arrival in Canada. She remembers how shy he was at first, and how he would cling to her when their Home Visitor arrived and at social HIPPY events.
He was a very shy child and the program helped him break his social barriers.
Now her son is very social and no longer afraid to interact with people; he is comfortable with the program and with the other kids he is meeting.
Although Maysaa has only been in Canada a short time, she is already taking initiative to learn new skills and become involved with her community. In addition to taking English classes and computer courses, she gives back by volunteering at the local community centre.