The family that has become the face of the Syrian refugee crisis has hit another milestone — Tima Kurdi and her brother Mohammad, who just arrived in Canada, have opened a hair salon in Port Coquitlam, B.C.

 On Dec. 28, Mohammad Kurdi, his wife and five children arrived at Vancouver International Airport to be welcomed by Tima and her family and friends who helped sponsor the family in Canada.

The arrival caused a media frenzy for the family related to Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old boy whose lifeless body was found washed up on a Turkish beach in September 2015.

It's been three years since Mohammad and his family left Syria, where he worked as a barber. Now he's ready to get back to work alongside his sister in B.C. at the salon called Kurdi Hair Design.

"Hard work to bring it to succeed, I'm very happy," he told CBC news in Arabic as Tima translated.

​"I'm very happy I'm in Canada and I saw my family again together again," he added. "It's very beautiful feeling."

Claire Moriarty Kurdi sponsor

Claire Moriarty is one of five people who helped sponsor Mohammad Kurdi and his family in Canada. (CBC)

Since arriving in Canada, the family has been getting to know the people who helped bring them here, such as Clare Moriarty.

"If you have an opportunity to change seven lives directly and be able to witness it, I think the opportunity is mine at the end of the day," she said.

Family and friends were invited to celebrate the salon opening, but even strangers dropped by to offer their well wishes.

"I don't think our kids could ever understand what these kids have been through," Rayleen Zanatta, who doesn't know the family but wanted to donate clothes and gift cards to help them get established in Canada, said. "It's a good way to give back to them."

Family and friends welcome the Kurdi family at salon

Family, friends and complete strangers welcomed the Kurdi family at the salon's opening on Jan. 2, 2015, in Port Coquitlam, B.C. (CBC)

Tima said the family is still in awe of all the support and kindness Canadians have shown and said her brother is eager to put his skills to use.

"We don't like asking too much for help," Mohammad said through Tima. "We like to work and to bring our life together, work very hard to support our family."

​Mohammad's children will now be enrolled in school and the entire family is hoping to register for English classes as well.


  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the number of sponsors and costs to bring the family to Canada.
    Jan 06, 2016 5:41 PM PT