Almonte newcomer from Syria does first-class upholstering

Radwan Mustafa: Upholstery and Furniture Refurbishing Services in Almonte.

by Chandler Swain

radwanRadwan Mustafa, his wife Amal and two children Ayah, 6,  and Ahmad, 4, arrived in Almonte during the coldest February weekend of this year.

They fled the war in Syria and spent four years in a Canadian-funded refugee camp in Jordan, living in a one-room tent before being accepted to come to Canada. They must have wondered what they got into when we left the warm airport terminal for the minus 30 winds whipping through the parking garage!

But since coming to our town, the Mustafas have flourished. They bravely dealt with winter and all the issues we take for granted — ice, snow, boots, coats, mitts and chilly, older houses. Then they had to come to terms with this exceptionally hot past summer! They have now truly been initiated into the extremes of Canadian climate and are enjoying their new life in our town. So many people have been so kind and welcoming to the family.

Since early spring Radwan and Amal have been attending English as a Second Language (ESL) classes provided by amazing volunteers on weekday mornings.

Their English is coming along really well and the children, both in school at Holy Name of Mary, are now helping us translate a bit for their parents!

We are so grateful to Sanaa Nassir from Appleton who stepped up immediately and has tirelessly been translating for the family. She has made all sorts of appointments and other complex scenarios doable and this has made the Mustafas’ transition to Canadian life so much easier. She has also become a dear friend to them and members of our team.

As the family settled in, it became evident that Radwan is a superb craftsman in the art of upholstery with a specialty in antique refurbishing. He was generously advised by local upholsterers Glenna Watts and Cynthia Guerard of My Upholstery Shop in Almonte.

Elisabeth de Snaijer, local aficionado of antiques, first brought Radwan a lovely old armchair to recover in tricky-to-handle cream linen.

At that point Radwan had no sewing machine, compressor-operated stapler or other essential tools of the trade, but the next day the chair was finished, all done by hand: it was amazing!

first-upholstery-job-may-30-2016

After that, word spread and furniture started showing up.

Radwan has now beautifully finished numerous pieces of remarkable complexity, from sofas to a variety of chairs, to the delight of their owners. He is getting rave reviews!

So it is with pleasure that his supporting sponsor group is now sending out word that Radwan is up and running with a new industrial sewing machine, stapler and compressor etc., and can take on jobs large and small.

He is a genius with fabric and can also sew curtains, cushions etc. His pricing has been established with help from the local experts and is very competitive. We have all been impressed with Radwan’s obvious skill and cheerful enthusiasm in jumping into re-establishing his business here. He is always willing to take on any task, and loves to be busy.

Since Radwan is still getting the hang of English, we are helping him get to know his customers and to organize pick up, delivery and other issues for his business. So if you have some furniture that needs re-covering please call Chandler Swain and Michael Reynolds at 613 256 6522 or cswain@storm.ca . We will facilitate you meeting Radwan.

The sponsors from the ABC Welcome team and others who are helping the Mustafas are all so grateful that we have been privileged to get to know this lovely family and to help them become our neighbours and friends.