Kawther Eljmal is starting off this year with a full heart. With her husband and four daughters by her side, she is settling in beautifully in Surrey, Canada.

Kawther and her family lived in Qatar before coming to Canada. Her husband had a work permit, but as soon as his work permit ended, they had to make a hard choice- go back to their home country – Palestine or emigrate to Canada. Because it was extremely unsafe for them and their daughters in Palestine, they moved to Canada as refugees.

They arrived in Vancouver in July 2021. Kawther’s daughters were the most excited when they landed in Vancouver. “I have four daughters; Yara Eljmal is 16 years old, Tala Eljmal is 13 years old, Lamar Eljmal is 11 years old, and Deema Eljmal is 3 years old. Because we have always lived in the Middle East, these girls have never ever seen snow. My husband and I feel so relieved that we are here, finally. We know Canada will be a beautiful home for us”.

Kawther’s husband, Tarek Eljmal, started working in FedEx to support the family financially. He also finished his course with HR block and is now looking forward to working with them once the family receives their Permanent Residency.

“I was very unsure about getting a job myself. I wanted to help my husband, but didn’t know how. I didn’t have the right qualifications, experience and felt very unsure about where to start from. Someone mentioned PICS and their Settlement Programs for Refugees. I got in touch with them, spoke to a lovely lady – Eva, who became my friend, my mentor and confidant in this new country. Eva guided us all the way. She helped me figure out a career path, helped with certifications and networking. She helped me practice my English, assisted us with getting our healthcare setup, getting my children admitted in a good school”.

Kawther’s daughters go to Fleetwood High School and the youngest attends daycare. Kawther, is working as a receptionist in HR block. She is very hopeful about the future and feels that her daughters will do very well in Canada.

This picture is from last year’s Christmas. “We enjoyed Christmas a lot as it was our first Xmas ever. The girls saw snow, and waking up to a white Christmas was like a dream come true. It felt straight out of a fairytale. We celebrated and put on a lovely Christmas tree since it is a wonderful tradition. As you can see my younger daughter Deema, looks so excited and had a gala good time decorating her Christmas tree”.

Eva joined PICS Society in 2004 as a volunteer by teaching an English language course. After seeing her consistent dedication and love for helping people, Eva was offered a permanent position and that’s how her career began at PICS Society. For several years she taught English to newcomers from beginner to advanced level. Presently, she is working as a community connection coordinator in the Settlement Program. Even at the age of 68, she enjoys working here because there is nothing more heartwarming and fulfilling than bringing smiles, encouragement, and hope into others’ life.