“There were so many people, so much love. I’ve never seen displays from good people like this – people who want to help you when you have a problem and want to fix it.” - Hassan
Since 2010, Matthew House Ottawa has housed hundreds of refugee claimants, and provided free, quality used furniture to about 5000 families in need. We have done this as a large, dedicated team of volunteers and a small handful of employees, with a lot of passion and commitment. Each month we will be sharing interviews and stories of people involved with or impacted by our work. Here is one of them.
What’s your name? Hassan
Where are you from? Djibouti
How did you get connected to Matthew House Ottawa?
The people who work for the City of Ottawa social services put me in a hotel. After one week, they called and told me to take a taxi to Matthew House Ottawa.
What is a fond memory from Matthew House Ottawa?
After dinner, if nobody was playing games, I would go to the living room and sit in a chair and read one of the books. What’s great is the chair is only for one person. I really liked it. It was quiet and relaxing.
What are you thankful for?
When I was at Matthew House Ottawa, the program director helped me and my sister. We had a hearing in Montreal and she called her friends and asked if we could stay at their place. They said yes. We went to Montreal and stayed with her friends. That was amazing.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced since coming to Canada?
When I lived at Matthew House Ottawa, I didn’t ask the volunteers for some things because I was too shy. I was new and I didn’t speak English as well as I do now.
What are some of the blessings you’ve encountered since coming to Canada?
People have good personalities. They are polite, love others and they love helping people. There is a big difference between here and my country. I’ve never met people like this before coming to Canada.
What are you up to now?
I’m studying at La Cité collégiale. Eventually, I want to switch to Algonquin College and study Information Technology.
By Rachel Burgis and Barb Koppe.
Wanna help? Here is how you can make a difference in our community through Matthew House Ottawa:
Pray: for past, present and future residents and furniture bank clients
Donate: to sustain and grow our impact
Volunteer: with our refugee services program or furniture bank
*Note: interviews have been edited for clarity