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Hello, Salam, I’m Helen Al Hariri

I’m an England-born Australian who fell in love with a Syrian in 2002. We got married in rural Syria in 2003.

We made Sydney our home in 2006, and our multicultural, interfaith marriage has been blessed with 7 amazing offspring that were born here and the UK. They feel Australian through and through, and quite rightfully so.

Unfortunately the civil war in Syria put a big full stop on trips back to see family. Keeping up the connection to our children’s Arab identity has been hard.

Having grown up with a bit of a split identity myself, never quite sure if I was Australian (like my Dad and my passport) or English (like my Mum and my hometown), I became increasingly sorry that my children's Syrian side was getting buried.

I want my children to feel proud of the Arab side of their heritage. To identify as Syrian as well as Australian (and English!). And I want the same for other children like them, growing up with a vague idea of another homeland, language and culture that adults in their lives represent.

A love of names and language is in my genes. My Grandpa, John Field, wrote the dictionary of English field names and my parents are long-time lovers of language and etymology. I studied Arabic at Damascus University and understand how hard, yet rewarding, it is to become literate in this most-challenging of tongues. 

Haluna Happy Names is my 8th baby, born from my love of names and language, and my desire to empower my Australian children, and others like them around the globe, with a pride in their Arabic-speaking/Syrian/Muslim heritage and identity.