Updates

CBC News Nova Scotia - The Muslim holy month of Ramadan continues and a special meal was held at a Halifax area Islamic centre Saturday night, but it was especially meaningful for one family from Syria.

The Al Hraki family can't say exactly when they arrived in Canada. They think it may have been four or five days ago, but because of jet lag their memories are fuzzy. 

A transatlantic journey is difficult enough, but during Ramadan when the faithful must fast from dawn to sunset, it presents an extra challenge.

Ahmed Al Hraki is a 28-year-old electrician who flew to Canada with his mother, father and 25-year-old brother

"The challenge began the moment they took the flight from Germany to Toronto because they never went on that long of a flight, nine hours or so," he said through a translator.

"They are adapting very well," the translator said. "Because the weather here is way better than in their refugee camp. It's way cooler here so they are enjoying that and the fresh air is giving them the energy they need to be productive during the day."

The Al-Rasoul Islamic Centre was hoping to further ease the transition with their Iftar.

Posted: 06/21/2016 - 15:38

Mississauga News - Almost four times as many Syrian refugees than initially anticipated have chosen to settle in Peel Region.

By the end of last February, the federal government had met its target to take in 25,000 Syrian men, women and children fleeing civil war in their homeland.

Approximately 11,500 refugees are now calling Ontario home and about 732 are living in Mississauga and Brampton.

The figures were part of a recent report submitted to Peel Region Council. The update on local efforts to support the newcomers to Canada indicated initial data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) indicated 192 were designated to settle in Peel.

However, Toronto-based COSTI Immigrant Services, the agency designated by the federal government to coordinate resettlement in this region, has confirmed that about 40 per cent of the people temporarily housed in Toronto ultimately chose to settle in Peel.

Most of them, about 708 refugees, are putting down roots in Mississauga, while 24 refugees are trying to begin new lives in Brampton.

Posted: 06/21/2016 - 10:19

CBC News Kitchener Waterloo - The Family Partnership Program is a collaboration between Reception House and Community Volunteers

Local refugee resettlement agency Reception House has launched a new partnership program using resources lined up for privately-sponsored refugees to address the growing number of government-sponsored Syrian refugees arriving in Waterloo Region. 

Between November 2015 and March 2016, the agency received more than 800 refugees, most of whom were fleeing the conflict in Syria, according to community educator Christian Snyder. 

Community connections - Family Partnership Program, which brings together groups of volunteers that already exist in the region with refugee families.

Social support only - "They're specifically for social orientation," Snyder said. "So, sitting down and having tea, riding the bus ... showing them where the libraries are and how to use them."

Posted: 06/21/2016 - 09:55

CBC News Ottawa - Homeful.ca was conceived and created by group of local volunteers

Call it an online swap shop for people in need: some need clothing, appliances and household items and others need to unload those things.

In this case, the people in need are Syrian refugees to the Ottawa area.

The swap shop is called Homeful.ca, and three of the people who helped create the site, volunteers for the settlement group Refugee 613, were complete strangers last autumn.

Then, after dozens of brainstorming meetings — and lots of coffee — Yani Roumeliotis, Jennifer Jeppsson and Anne Pham-Huy became good friends.

They say Homeful is similar to Kijiji or Craigslist, except it's designed to help refugees, settlement workers and private sponsors connect with Ottawa residents looking to donate clothing and other goods.

Posted: 06/20/2016 - 10:32

TheStar.com - Progrma opens the door to education for biomedical engineering student Roua Alkadi and otheres who fled their war-torn homeland.

Roua Alkadi had gotten used to the deafening sound of bomb blasts as she sat in class at Damascus University.

But when the growing conflict in Syria made it too dangerous even to attend class, she dropped out of her studies in accounting and joined the exodus of people fleeing the country.

For many young Syrians, leaving their war-torn country has meant suspending if not ending their education completely — and shelving dreams of a career and bright future.

But thanks to a new post-secondary scholarship program for Syrian women, a door has opened for Alkadi to resume her education in her adopted home of Toronto.

“I applied to Ryerson University in February and got a conditional offer, but I had no idea how I was going to pay for my tuition,” said Alkadi, one of six scholarship recipients set to attend a Canadian university this fall under the 100 Syrian Women, 10,000 Lives scholarship program offered by Jusoor Canada.

Posted: 06/17/2016 - 15:06

Mississauga News - The Peel District School Board has taken in 515 refugee students from Syria since beginning its Inspire Hope campaign last December.

The majority of those students are in elementary school (437), and many of them are attending Thornwood, Brian W. Fleming and Dixie public schools. The high school-aged students are at Mississauga's TL Kennedy Secondary School, the board reports.

According to the board, an existing Syrian community and large number of Arabic speakers has made Mississauga the ideal destination for families from the war-torn country that made headlines last year when Canada committed to taking thousands of refugees in.

When the Inspire Hope campaign was launched, trustees raised concerns about receiving funding from the provincial government for any additional costs – on top of per pupil funding – such as extra English as Second Language (ESL) teachers, as well as social workers or psychologists needed for trauma counselling.

Peel board executive director Tony Pontes confirmed at Wednesday's regular board meeting that they will be reimbursed for the additional costs.

"There are lots of big and little things," spokesperson Brian Woodland said of the costs, which include a resource teacher to support schools around ESL, providing secondary students with Arabic-English visual dictionary as well as summer programming.

Posted: 06/17/2016 - 14:43

ACCESS International English Language Centre is launching a new English Language (ESL) camp in Hamilton this summer for teens, ages 12 - 18.

There are twenty (20) free spots to local Hamilton participants.

The camp will bring both international and local immigrant teenagers together where they will improve their English language skills and take part in fun learning oriented teacher-guided trips and activities.

Camp participants can choose to take part in the morning classes only (free) or take both morning classes and afternoon activities (cost of $75 per week)

Have fun on local tour activities such as:

  • Wild Waterworks park
  • Dundurn Castle
  • Niagara Falls
  • CN Tower
  • Hiking
  • Barbecues
  • Team building activities
  • Laser tag
  • Rafting on the Grand River

Date: June 26 to August 6, 2016
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Location: Hillfield-Strathanllan College 299 Fennel Ave. West, Hamilton

For more information or to apply for one of the twenty free spots, please contact Wendy Gillanders at:

E-mail: wendy@accessenglish.com
Phone: 416-935-0457 ext. 2400

Posted: 06/15/2016 - 10:14

The Refugee Sponsorship Training Program invites Settlement Workers and the Private Sponsors of Refugees Program to a Workshop.

This free workshop is intended for Settlement Workers assisting clients that have come to Canada through private sponsorship. The goal is to assist you in supporting your clients by gaining a thorough understanding of how the private sponsorship of refugees program works, what to do if conflict arises between sponsors and newcomers, and the various ways that you can provide support.

Topics including:

  • The different categories of Canadian refugee resettlement
  • Main sponsoring groups and their responsibilities
  • The role of a settlement worker in a private sponsorship
  • What you can do if there is a sponsorship dispute
  • Services available to support you

Date: June 16, 2016
Time: 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m
Location: Friend’s House 60 Lowther Avenue, Toronto

Registration is required.

Posted: 06/14/2016 - 15:48

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the Crossroads Clinic at Women’s College Hospital have been working together to find ways to respond to the mental health needs of Syrian newcomers during and after the current resettlement surge.

Starting in March 2016 the Mood and Anxiety Ambulatory Service at CAMH will launch a refugee mental health and wellness service called the New Beginnings Clinic. 

While this service has been developed in response to the resettlement surge of Syrian people, services will not be restricted to this group but will be available to all refugees in their first two years in Toronto.

The service has two components:

  1. Case consultation - provides primary care providers with access to psychiatrists and social workers for discussion and advice on client/patient cases.
  2. Psychiatric consultation and, when appropriate, brief culturally sensitive interventions for newly arrived refugees (eg., GARs, PSRs  and refugee claimants) with psychological issues or concerns. 

Case consultation provided in component #1 may result in a recommendation for psychiatric consultation and brief culturally sensitive intervention in the CAMH service.  Please find details below on how to access either service component.

For general inquiries or for case consultation requests please contact the clinic’s information line. 

New Beginnings Clinic Info Line: 416-535-8501 ext. 31683

Posted: 06/06/2016 - 16:27

Jusoor is partnering with the Faculty of Law at Windsor University to provide the "Jusoor Windsor Law Scholarship for a Syrian Refugee" for one Syrian student currently living in Canada to pursue a Master’s Degree in Law.

The scholarship is open to Syrian students who have moved recently to Canada and are living in Canada currently.

Eligible criteria:

  • Student must be Syrian or have a Syrian passport or ID

Selection criteria:

  • Academic achievement (applicants should have a law degree (such as an LLB or JD) or be exceptional students with an undergraduate degree in a law-related discipline)
  • Personal achievement
  • English language ability to complete the academic program
  • Interest in and commitment towards rebuilding Syria

Application deadline: June 26, 2016.

For more information and to apply please click here

Posted: 06/06/2016 - 09:58

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