Letter from our Founder.
The Cuts For Kids story begins in a city just south of Baghdad, where my family lived along the Euphrates river. When I was four years old, our country was thrown into war and my family made the difficult decision to escape Iraq and seek refugee status in Canada. We had left our home in the hopes of a better life, but like many refugees, we found ourselves with little money and afraid of the uncertainty to come.
We lived in affordable housing and depended on Ottawa’s social programs for food and clothing. My mother and father had been at the top of their careers as a doctor and a school teacher in our home country, but were denied recognition of their degrees in Canada. I watched my parents with admiration as they returned to school and worked late nights, all the while raising their two children in their attempt to give us the best life that they could.
Being a child from a poor family affected me particularly when I went to school. My clothes were different, my hair was different, and so I was seen as different. I began to feel like an outsider and developed self-esteem issues, especially with my physical appearance. Things like my mother’s bowl-cuts earned me sneers and laughs from my classmates. I became increasingly frustrated to the point that I decided to take drastic measures to stop the bullying. I went to the mirror with my teddy bear and cut his hair, and then mine. The results were disastrous, to say the least.
As my family settled in Canada, programs such as the ONFE School Breakfast Program and the Snowsuit Fund took off some of the immense pressure of living in poverty. My memories growing up as a refugee inspired me to create the Cuts For Kids Foundation and give back to the community that gave me so much. Find out more about our programs and follow our news to learn more.