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Mouna's Story

Updated: Feb 17, 2021

Mouna first got involved with The North Grove through its family programming when her now 12-year old daughter was still a baby.

“I first heard about the Family Centre from a friend who encouraged me to go there with my daughter, 11 years ago... From day one I loved it!” says Mouna.
From left to right: Jenna Abu Alhaj, 12; Mouna; Lemma, 9; Raed; Dania, 4. (Not pictured Maryam, 3)

“The Centre felt like family to me, I never felt judged and it felt like everyone was welcomed. The Centre is like our second home. With each child, we became a little more attached. My daughter Dania called it “her school”, we couldn’t even drive by without her wanting to stop and go into play,” she describes.

“The Centre has become very diverse and that is great to see. The staff have always been very respectful, welcoming and I have never felt out of place.”

Mouna knows about the importance of having a place that feels like home.

Mouna has been a part of the Dartmouth North community for most of her life: when she was nine years old, Mouna and her family moved from Jordan to Canada.

“Our first home was on Highfield Park Drive in Dartmouth. It was a two-bedroom apartment and 7 of us lived there... I remember moving to Canada, leaving everything and everyone behind to go to a place where I didn’t know anyone. I also didn’t speak or understand a lot of English,” explains Mouna, “I quickly learned English and adapted to life in Canada; as kids we were resilient.”

From left to right: Dania, 4; Jenna Abu Alhaj, 12; Lemma, 9.

Her husband Raed immigrated to Nova Scotia as adult, arriving in 2008, just before the pair started their family. He drove a cab for years because his education wasn’t recognized in Canada; now he’s completed a degree in power engineering and is working in his field.

Mouna says that for her, “The best part [of The North Grove] is being a part of the community. It’s about connecting and belonging.”

When COVID-19 struck, Mouna was taking part in The North Grove’s Community Action Training, a ten-week course for community members to increase their ability to advocate for others and themselves.

“It’s been hard. Not being able to come to the Centre and attend regular programs was a big change for us. But we really appreciated the Centre, trying to still offer support in other ways.”

But whether it is taking helping people get access to the take-out meals The North Grove gives out or taking part in our container gardening program, Mouna is always looking for ways to stay engaged and to help others get that same sense of connection and belonging.

You can support programming at The North Grove through our We Stand Together matching campaign.


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