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Success Stories

Hua Chen

Today, Hua Chen lives with his wife and daughter in a quiet Peterborough neighbourhood they now consider home.

Originally from Beijing, China, Hua first came to Canada in 2002 on a study permit as an International Student. He attended the University of Windsor where he graduated with a major in computer science in 2005. Soon after, Hua’s wife was accepted to a Ph.D. program at Trent University. Consequently, Hua was accepted into Trent’s Applications of Modeling (AMINSS) program. So in 2005, the Chen family moved to Peterborough. 

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Dean Pappas

Pappas - 3 generations With only 10 dollars in his pocket, Bill Pappas, Dean's father, arrived in Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia more than 50 years ago. He had fought the Nazis, escaped from Communist re-education camps, and was determined to pursue his dreams. His immediate priority was to make enough money to pay for his wife Tula’s passage from Greece. His goal was to build a home and raise his family in Canada.

Eventually, Bill made his way to Peterborough and purchased the pool hall on George Street from his cousin. He and his wife started a family here, and today, the Pappas name is a familiar one in the community. "That is what immigrants do. They help build cities and countries. They enrich communities. They come to this country to build a better life, and that is what Canada does well. It is a country of new Canadians and that is the story of Canada." reflects Bill’s son, Dean.

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Ali Imran and Mostafa Rahman

Ali Imran and Mostafa Rahman If you know where the New Canadians Centre is, then you are a two-minute walk away from Ali and Mostafa’s Village of Thai. This popular restaurant is the latest addition to a chain of restaurants owned and operated by Ali and Mostafa’s family.

The family moved to Canada in the late ‘90s from Bangladesh. They first moved to Toronto, where they had the support of other family members. When the opportunity to purchase a restaurant in Peterborough presented itself, the Rahman brothers did not hesitate.

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Farah Zafarzadeh

Farah Zafarzadeh I grew up in a big family in Afghanistan. When the Soviets invaded, we sought refuge in Iran, leaving behind relatives and friends. When the war in Afghanistan continued and the Taliban took over, we decided to head to Canada as refugees. We landed in Toronto on September 15, 1995. That was a great day.

We ended up in a women’s shelter as we had nowhere to go. While it was certainly nice to have a roof over our heads, the atmosphere there was bad, and it scared me. My sons hated being in the shelter and I had to remind them it was not meant to be forever.

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Fadhil Al-Sarraj

Fadhil Al-Sarraj I was born in Baghdad, Iraq, to a family of business people. None of our relatives were university graduates. However, my father was different; he wanted to pursue higher education, working during the day and attending school at night. Often, he and I would study and write exams at the same time. He set a wonderful example for me.

He finished his business degree in the same year I started high school. I spent most of my time studying because I wanted to be a pharmacist. I became a licensed pharmacist at 20 years old. Later, I decided to pursue my doctorate in pharmacy in England.

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