adel was born and raised in Saudi Arabia. As his parents are Eritrean, the government viewed him as a “temporary resident.” When he was old enough to pursue a university education, he had to leave the country and go to Malaysia where he obtained his Bachelor of Information Technology. While he was there, he also learned English so he would do well in the business world. Returning to Saudi Arabia, he put his new found computer and English skills to work as an executive assistant for an investment banking company.

In 2015, Adel married a Yemeni named Huda and a year later they welcomed a son Abdulrahman. But living on a temporary resident visa meant that Adel was at risk of being forced to leave and go to Eritrea. However, Eritrea has a poor human rights record and requires 18 months military service for all residents. And he could not move to Yemen where a civil war limits the humanitarian aid needed to lessen poverty, famine and cholera. “If it was just me, I might have moved and would try to survive,” Adel reflected. “But when you are responsible for a wife and one-year-old son, it really changes things.” So he and his family fled and became refugees. 

"When you are responsible for a wife and one-year-old son, it really changes things." — Adel

The growth, prosperity and appeal of large technology companies attracted Adel to Waterloo Region. As a refugee claimant awaiting his hearing, Adel had very little money so he and his family had to stay in a shelter. He turned to Lutherwood desperate for help to find more suitable housing. “My Housing Counsellor helped me understand the process, find vacant units and meet with landlords to see apartments,” he said. “But landlords want a Canadian credit and rental history, and I don’t have one because I am new here.” After months of searching and rejection, Adel found a guarantor and an apartment landlord willing to work with him. 

After he moved in, his wife suddenly got sick and his son needed milk. “I was broke,” Adel confessed. “Without Canadian work experience, I was struggling to get a job to settle and feed my family. So Lutherwood helped me get a food allowance to help with the extra food costs, and recommended their Employment Services office for help finding work.” 

“But I found a job on my own that helps me pay my bills. Now I am waiting for my refugee hearing. And after that, I hope to finally be a permanent resident and call Canada home.”