#ImmigrationMatters in Enfield, Nova Scotia – Tailoring solutions during the pandemic

#ImmigrationMatters in Enfield, Nova Scotia

Khabat Alissa helps keep his community safe, one mask at a time.

Tailoring solutions during the pandemic

Khabat Alissa sewing masks in his store.

Tailoring is a passion for Khabat Alissa (Issa), who worked as a tailor in Syria before immigrating with his family to Nova Scotia in 2016. Upon his arrival, Issa began working at his cousin’s tailor shop in Bridgewater and, with the support of his cousins and community, opened his own tailor shop in Enfield just 3 years later.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Canada, interrupting his regular tailoring business, Issa volunteered his time and talents to help the best way he knew how—by sewing.

”Issa donated face masks to all the local essential workers and anyone else in the community who was in need of one,” says Trish Pittman, local volunteer first responder and pharmacy technician.

Soon, requests poured in from around the province. At the height of the pandemic, Issa was sewing upwards of 100 masks per day. He estimates that he’s donated over 3,000 masks, though for Issa the focus was on helping his community during a time of need.

Beyond stitching the masks, Issa personally delivered them to fire fighters, paramedics and first responders. He also made deliveries to seniors’ homes so the community’s most vulnerable populations could stay safe. 

“He took care of all the first responders in the area first and then posted on social media that others in the community could come to the shop and pick up a free face mask,” says Todd Pepperdine, the Fire Chief at the Enfield Fire Department. “It’s amazing to think of what he’s contributed by reaching into his own pockets.” 

As a recent immigrant and new business owner, Issa is working past language barriers to be of help to those in need and to put his community first. He is already dreaming of opening another tailor shop in Halifax one day.

Immigration profile: East Hants, Nova Scotia

Quick facts:

  • Immigrants make up more than 4% of the East Hants population.
  • The United Kingdom is the largest source country of immigrants in East Hants, followed by the United States and the Netherlands.
  • Over half (51%) of all immigrants who came to East Hants between 1980 and 2016 were economic immigrants, while 43% were sponsored by family and nearly 5% were refugees.

Did you know?

  • German is the third most popular language spoken at home in East Hants after English and French.

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