Hanan Abu-Laban

An angel of welcome

When Hanan Abu-Laban, a charity director at the Ottawa Muslim Association, read a story about a woman in need on a local WhatsApp group, she knew she had to find a way to help her.

Hanan, a Community Affairs and Charity Director at the Ottawa Muslim Association, has dealt with similar cases in the past. Over the last 15 years, she has devoted her time in Ottawa to assist struggling newcomers and established residents find their place in the community. Her community work has often focused on helping vulnerable families and single mother households to find the services they require, often to meet their most basic needs.

For Houda, Hanan was much more than that. “Hanan was like an angel to me,” says Houda Amine, a single mother of three. “I was crying and I had no one to help me until Hanan came forward and gave my life joy again through her generosity and support. I will never forget this woman until I die!”

“I knew Houda was alone, so I did a quick plan to move her closer to our community in Ottawa, so we could provide her with all support needed to make her new life better,” explains Hanan.

In many ways, Hanan became the advocate that Houda needed. Houda has three very active young sons, one who experiences constant seizures. Hanan helped her find schools, daycare and specialized services for her sons.

“She is a good leader, role model and is capable of doing quick and efficient plans,” adds Houda. “Hanan gives me parenting advice and she helps me to find the resources for each of my challenges. I would like to thank Hanan and the Muslim community for the solidarity and always being there for me and my children.”

For Hanan her motivation is simple. “I have a passion for helping people. The reward is seeing a smile on someone’s face.”