US & Canada

Newly-arrived Syrian refugee saves Canadian bride's wedding day

Syrian refugee Ibrahim Halil Dudu fixes the broken zip on Jo Du's wedding dress Image copyright Lindsay Coulter
Image caption Ibrahim Halil Dudu had been in Canada just four days when his skills as a tailor were called on to save a bride's wedding day

It is the nightmare situation that no bride wants on her wedding day: as one of Jo Du's bridesmaids did up the zip on her dress, it broke.

Jo didn't know it yet, but there was no need to panic.

Because next door was a tailor, a man who had only arrived in Canada days before after fleeing Syria's war-torn violence, unable to speak a word of English.

Ibrahim Halil Dudu did not hesitate to come to the rescue.

"I was so excited and so happy," Ibrahim told CTV News through a translator. "I like to help Canadian people from my heart."

He appeared at the house with his sewing kit, his young son and David Hobson, the Ontario man who had opened his own doors - and renovated his basement - to Ibrahim and his family so they could have a home.

'Overwhelming'

"Within a few minutes he had sewn Jo's dress on to her - and it looked just as good as before," recalled wedding photographer Lindsay Coulter, who captured the moment with her camera.

Lindsay, 26, was so touched by what she saw, she decided to share the image with her Facebook friends.

"Every weekend I take photos of people on the happiest days of their lives, and today one man who has seen some of the worst things our world has to offer came to the rescue,' she wrote in a post liked more than 22,000 times since 26 September.

Image copyright Lindsay Coulter
Image caption Ibrahim is originally from Aleppo, but fled three years ago with his family to Turkey while they awaited asylum

Ever since, she has been inundated with emails and calls wanting to find out more about the tailor from Aleppo, who spent three years in Turkey waiting for asylum after escaping Syria.

"It's very overwhelming," Lindsay said. "I think Canadians want to help when they see others in need.

"We love Canada, but we know we just won the lottery on where we were born."

In fact, this story of goodwill goes back even further: Ibrahim, his wife and their three children are among 50 families being sponsored to live in Canada by businessman Jim Estill, who is personally footing the bill of more than a million Canadian dollars (£588,000/$764,000) so they can claim asylum.

These families are among 30,862 Syrian refugees who have arrived in Canada since November 2015. In comparison, Britain has set itself a goal of taking in 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020, and America has accepted 10,000 in the year to 1 October.

Lindsay now hopes this story will inspire other countries to follow in Canada's footsteps.

"My massive, massive dream is that others will see what we have done and see it makes us a stronger country and it makes our people more compassionate," she said.

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