Newcomers Put Down Roots In Cape Breton

Sohaila, Deeno, and Bilal

Sohaila Abdo first came to the Island as a Cape Breton University student, and had no plans to stay.


“When I moved here, I had a return ticket to Cairo,” says Sohaila.” I enjoyed my time here, but in the back of my mind, I was thinking about going home.”


Her family also wanted her to return to Egypt, but changed their minds because of the political unrest there at the time. Concerned for the future, her family decided it would be safer for her to stay in Cape Breton.


The final piece fell into place when Sohaila met her husband, Nigerian Zaharaddeen “Deeno” Tuggar. They had much in common. Both were international students of Muslim faith, and they were on the same page when it came to raising a family in Cape Breton. Their son became the first Canadian-born child in either of their families. Bilal was born in Sydney in March 2017.


“We enjoy the peacefulness, the dazzling scenery, and the safety of the community,” says Sohaila. “My husband also fell in love with Cape Breton, and we are proud to call this community home.”


Sohaila is now the manager of the Cape Breton Island Centre For Immigration at the New Dawn Centre for Social Innovation in Sydney. The Centre provides services to help immigrant families integrate into the local community.


“New Dawn welcomed me with open arms,” says Sohaila. “They not only accepted my religion and cultural differences, but actually viewed these things as assets to help them understand and support other newcomers .”


“It is my hope that immigrant families will realize that cultural obstacles can be overcome, and that they can find much success here. I want to help because I understand how they feel, and I understand the great rewards and pride in calling yourself a Canadian citizen.”


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Sohaila Abdo first came to the Island as a Cape Breton University student, and had no plans to stay.
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