Iraqi refugee nurse feels welcomed at Grace Village

By Michael Boriero - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Iraqi refugee nurse feels welcomed at Grace Village
(Photo : Courtesy)

Savio Habash spends his day resting and taking care of his children, alongside his wife, Rana Osanah, before heading off to work a night shift as a nurse at Grace Village Pavilion in Huntingville.
The 38-year-old graduated from the nursing program at Champlain College in Lennoxville in June, completing his degree in three years. He quickly passed the Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec (OIIQ) exam. And this month he passed the French-language exam.
It was a long time coming for Habash. He has only been in Quebec for six years. He immigrated to Sherbrooke in 2015, after fleeing Iraq a year earlier with his wife and three-year-old daughter. His village was taken by ISIS, a militant Islamist group, in 2014.
Habash and his family escaped to Kyrgyzstan and then to Jordan, where they spent nearly a year living with other refugees. He was slowly losing hope, he told The Record in an interview, when St. Ephrem Syriac Orthodox Church reached out.
“We didn’t know these people and they were really good to us,” said Habash. “They were like a big brother, they helped us with everything.”
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