For 30 years before the civil war broke out in Syria, Mohammed Kurdi was a barber. Now, more than 5,000 miles from his war-torn homeland, he has returned to the business of cutting hair.

Kurdi, who recently arrived in Canada as a refugee, joined his younger sister Tima Kurdi for the grand opening of their new hair salon in Coquitlam on Saturday.

Speaking with his sister as a translator, Kurdi told reporters his family is adjusting to life in Canada. Getting back to work is an important part of that adjustment, and one he said many Syrians feel when they immigrate to a new country.

“When we go anywhere, to any country, we don’t like asking too much for help,” he said in Arabic. “We like to work … and work very hard to support our family.”

Though he’s been in Canada for only a week, Tima Kurdi said Mohammed has been a wealth of knowledge -- advising her on how to expand the barber side of the business.

Though she’s been planning to open the salon since August, Tima Kurdi said she wanted to wait until her brother arrived before opening.

“He owned his own barber shop in Damascus for the last 15 years or more,” she said. “So it’s almost like it’s run in the family.”

The Kurdi family was thrust into the international spotlight earlier this year, when three-year-old Alan Kurdi’s lifeless body was photographed on a beach in Turkey. The child died, along with his brother and mother, when their boat sank in the Mediterranean while trying to reach Europe.

Alan Kurdi’s father Abdullah -- the brother of Tima and Mohammed -- did not join his relatives as refugees in Canada, choosing instead to remain in the region and devote his life to helping other refugees, according to Tima Kurdi.

With files from CTV Vancouver’s Julie Nolin