From three to a room to a room of one's own: Moncton family to get new home
Sulieman El Terek says his family didn't move from Syria to split up, more rooms mean staying together
For Sulieman El Terek, the best part of finding out that his family will be new homeowners is that it means all ten of them will be able to stay together.
The El Terek family was chosen to be Habitat for Humanity Moncton's newest homeowners.
"We are so happy because we are finally getting something (that) can fit all of us and we don't have to leave," said Sulieman of the cramped social housing bungalow the family currently lives in.
A bigger home will relieve the pressure on the older children to move out to make space for the rest of of the family.
Sulieman is the second oldest of eight siblings, ranging in age from early twenties to nine months old.
His family moved to Canada nearly five years ago after fleeing Syria for Lebanon. They came as refugees, and have made Moncton their new home.
But the ten member family is squeezed into four bedrooms, with two bathrooms and only one shower.
"Our plan when we moved from Syria (was) to be together, we didn't move for everyone (to) separate. That's not good for us. You know what I mean, we like to be around each other, helping each other."
Aside from the small size of the clean, sparsely decorated bungalow, the house isn't wheelchair accessible. The doorways and bathrooms don't accommodate Mazen El Terek, the oldest son, who has mobility issues.
This is all set to change when the new home is built in a lot donated by the city of Dieppe.
Sulieman has seen the plans for the six bedroom bungalow with a finished basement.
"The bathroom will be a big bathroom, big doors, very accessible for my brother and us. It has six rooms and a big kitchen, big living room," he said.
The new house
Chantal Landry, executive director at Habitat for Humanity Moncton, said the family was one a few who applied and was chosen because they had the greatest need.
"In their case, they're a family of 10. So therefore, the house wasn't accommodating the size of the family, but they also had a family member who had a disability and … the house wasn't accessible," she said.
"So those are definitely high on the list of needs because those are basic needs for anybody."
Landry said the family showed they could handle a mortgage, had good credit, and happily agreed to do the required 500 hours of volunteer work. They will also act as ambassadors for the organization.
"That's the type of family also that we want to work with, because that's what it's all about," said Landry.
She said the cost of building the house will be higher than previous builds because of an increase in the price of lumber, and many building supplies simply aren't available right now.
"Whether it be, you know, windows and doors, plumbing, bathtubs and sinks, all those things are actually impacted by COVID and other factors," said Landry.
"So we have to look at all those things and it may be impacted, but we're just going to keep on trucking."
Landry said different businesses and trades people have already shown interest in helping to get the house built, but Habitat for Humanity Moncton is still looking for financial donations and volunteers.
"Whether they have experience or not, we just need people to get involved," she said.
Landry hopes to have the El Terek family in their new house by the end of the year.
She said she can't wait to see them do things like all eat together at one table, something they haven't been able to do in years.
"The simple things that sometimes we take for granted are things … they've missed," she said.
Yahia El Terek hopes the move to Dieppe won't affect his plans to graduate from Harrison Trimble High School where he is currently a Grade 11 student, but he's happy to be getting his own room.
"I live with my brother in the same bedroom and they are really small," said Yahia.
Yahia is excited to start work on the house, while nine-year-old Shahed El Terek can't wait to get her hands on some paint.
The only girl in a family with eight kids, she already has the colour of the very first room of her own picked out: "Pink."