HALIFAX (CANADA) – A couple decades ago, Bedrije Rexhepi would never have imagined herself in Halifax owning her own hairdressing business.
But in 1999, in the midst of a brutal civil war in Kosovo, Rexhepi found herself starting over.
Rexhepi and her family were forced from their home and fled to a refugee camp in Macedonia. From there, she, her husband Zeqirja and five of their six children made the journey to Canada. Their eldest daughter moved to Switzerland.
They were among 2,500 Kosovar refugees who arrived at CFB Greenwood that May, as part of Operation Parasol.
“I was so sad leaving everything behind,” she recalled.
Rexhepi recalls how friendly volunteers were and how much support she received from the Canadian Red Cross and the organization know known as Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS).
She also remembers how difficult it was making the adjust to life in Nova Scotia, especially since the family didn’t speak English.