Updates

CTV News - Fourteen-year-old Dayeh, from Aleppo, Syria, arrived in Canada with his mother and sister, and was given the chance to attend summer camp after his sponsor approached him. Summer camp, for many Canadian kids, is almost seen as a rite of passage.

“The sponsor asked me, ‘You want to go camping?’ I said yes, why not?” said Dayeh.

Multiple camps throughout Ontario offered free spots in their camps to the Ontario Camps Association this summer. The association then matched refugee kids between the ages of 4-15 to camps that they wanted to attend, for free.

Kids were able to choose from day and overnight camps, one week and multi-week camps and different activity-specific camps. Dayeh chose an overnight summer camp near Parry Sound, Ont., giving him a chance to learn how to canoe and play different sports like basketball and volleyball.

According to Dayeh, he made more friends at camp than he did during his half year at school. He also hopes that more refugee children will take advantage of the Ontario summer camp program and get to experience what he did.

Now, Dayeh said, Canada has become his home.

Posted: 08/19/2016 - 12:54

Ensuring appropriate supports for the successful integration of Syrian newcomer youth.

In late 2015 and early 2016, close to five thousand Syrian refugees have been resettled to Toronto. More than half of them are children and youth.

Newcomer youth have particular needs that require intentional service coordination and provision to allow for their successful settlement and meaningful integration into Canadian society.

What are the challenges and barriers to settlement and integration that Syrian newcomer youth may be facing and what are the opportunities to address them?

Join us for:

  • Opening remarks by Councillor Joe Mihevc, City of Toronto Newcomer Advocate
  • Panel discussion, moderated by Debbie Douglas from OCASI, highlighting perspectives on history of settlement services for youth by Ibrahim Absiye from CultureLink, health and mental health by Dr. Branka Agic from CAMH, and education by Marcia Powers-Dunlop from TDSB
  • Public discussion

This Open Dialogue is hosted by the City of Toronto Newcomer Office.

Date: Friday 26th, August, 2016
Time: 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Location: Toronto City Hall Members' Lounge 100 Queen St. West.

To register please click here or email at: mamarsi@toronto.ca

Posted: 08/18/2016 - 11:59

The Information Session 2: Settlement Training Workshop is a seminar for sponsors/parishioners who are in the process of planning in expectation of the refugee's arrival to Canada.

Parish refugee volunteers and sponsors learn more about budgeting, the needs of refugees and the best way to manage their expectations, while building trust and setting the rules of support.

The workshop is a training opportunity for refugee committees to develop effective tools to integrate newcomers successfully in their church communities.

All parish refugee volunteers and sponsors involved in helping to resettle refugees sponsored in the Archdiocese of Toronto are required to participate in this training workshop.

Date: Tuesday, 23 August 2016
Time: 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (EDT) 
Location: 830 Bathurst Street - upstairs in the St. Paul Classroom, Toronto, Ontario M5R 3G1

To register please click here

 

Posted: 08/16/2016 - 16:27

The Information Session 2: Settlement Training Workshop is a seminar for sponsors/parishioners who are in the process of planning in expectation of the refugee's arrival to Canada.

Parish refugee volunteers and sponsors learn more about budgeting, the needs of refugees and the best way to manage their expectations, while building trust and setting the rules of support.

The workshop is a training opportunity for refugee committees to develop effective tools to integrate newcomers successfully in their church communities.

All parish refugee volunteers and sponsors involved in helping to resettle refugees sponsored in the Archdiocese of Toronto are required to participate in this training workshop.

Date: Wednesday, 21 September 2016
Time: 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (EDT) 
Location: 830 Bathurst Street - upstairs in the St. Paul Classroom, Toronto, Ontario M5R 3G1 

To register please click here

 

Posted: 08/16/2016 - 16:25

CBC News Kitchener Waterloo - With school just a few weeks away, many Syrian refugees in the Region of Waterloo will be getting ready to start their first-ever school year in Canada.

Because of the war, many adolescent refugees have large gaps their formal education resulting in limited literacy skills both in their mother tongue and in English.

To address this, Kristiina Montero, an associate professor in the faculty of education at Wilfrid Laurier University, helped develop an English Literacy Development (ELD) program at Eastwood Collegiate High School in Kitchener.

Now with six classes, Eastwood has become the magnet site for refugee students to access the program.

Not ESL, ELD

Unlike the English as a Second Language (ESL), Montero says the ELD can be looked as a first step to learning English literacy because it uses the same method of guided reading that is used when young children are learning how to read. But with a twist that recognizes the age and maturity of the students.

Posted: 08/15/2016 - 15:35

National Post Calgary - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his gratitude Friday for Canada’s response to the refugee crisis, praising citizens who extended “caring, warm hands” to people who had nowhere else to go.

In a speech at the University of Calgary, Ban said he was grateful for the “generous and compassionate” commitment of the Canadian government to resettle tens of thousands of Syrian refugees.

Ban met with Syrian refugee families in Calgary earlier in the day and recalled hearing from one mother whose deaf son was shot in the neck.

He said the woman told him: “I dream that my kids will do something good for Canada because Canada saved us.”

Elsewhere in the world, Ban said, refugees have not been welcomed as openly.

His speech coincided with International Youth Day and focused on three areas where young people can make a difference: tackling unemployment, fostering peace and security and battling climate change.

Posted: 08/15/2016 - 15:30

CBC News Nova Scotia - How sweet it is when a dream comes true. 

It's just that Assam Hadhad never thought it would happen in a tiny shed in Antigonish, N.S.

Seven months ago Hadhad was a desperate Syrian refugee and now he is the proud owner of Peace by Chocolate which is housed in that tiny shed.

Picking up where he left off

Hadhad was once a successful chocolate maker in Damascus, Syria. 

He owned a factory there and employed 30 people. He shipped chocolates all over the Middle East, but he lost it all to war.

When he arrived in Canada he had little but a loving family and the community of Antigonish's welcoming arms. Hundreds of people helped them establish a home but Assam Hadhad wanted to contribute and continue his life's work.

"Work is life," Tareq Hadhad explains. "You interact with your new community and develop ideas and skills."

Posted: 08/15/2016 - 11:56

CBC News Windsor - The pictures tell the story. Pictures of tanks, guns and bombing fighter jets, all drawn by young Syrian teens.

They are the scenes etched in the memories of kids, aged 13-19, attending a summer camp for recent Syrian immigrants who landed in Windsor.

It's helping them adjust to life here and at the same time helping them work through the lasting trauma they experienced overseas.

"Like one of the girls, she saw her sister dying ... and her mother got paralysed ... lost one of her eyes," said camp organizer Hiba Hijazi.

The pictures will be sewn together to make a quilt they will take to their school, Westview Freedom Academy, next month.

The camp began on July 13 at the offices of Windsor Women Working with Immigrant Women in downtown Windsor.

The camp also gives the kids a chance to hone their English skills, and a voice to express what they want us know about them.

Posted: 08/15/2016 - 11:14

The London Free Press - After arriving in London last winter from war-torn Syria, former bus driver Yousef Alzayad couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel again to support his family of 11 – but speed bumps were fast approaching. “The use of a computer is one of the world’s highest demands,” said Alzayad through an Arabic translation.

He has never been exposed to a mapping system and interactive software in new cars and buses.

The 46-year-old father of nine, with six attending schools in London, was forced to find an alternative route to employment, enrolling in a two-week introductory computer course held at Western University.

Aycha Tammour, an astronomer and researcher at Western, will co-teach the course in Arabic, while maintaining English computer terminology such as desktop and folder.

The faculty of computer science at the university is supporting the independent program by providing a computer lab free of charge for up to two weeks, she said.

Up to 30 Syrian refugees of more than 1,000 in London have signed up for the course that begins Aug. 15 and runs from 1 to 3 p.m.

Posted: 08/09/2016 - 16:38

YorkRegion.com - Thousands of Syrian refugees are starting life from scratch in a new country with a new language here in Canada, but they’re not alone.

Several Canadian organizations, families and individuals have given their time and effort to help new Canadian families adjust from a life of war to a life of peace.

The North American Shia Ithna Asheri Muslim Community Organization (NASIMCO) and the Jaffari Community Centre (JCC) in Vaughan are two organizations actively helping new government-sponsored Syrian families adjust to the massive change.

NASIMCO and JCC hosted a free dental screening and informative workshop session for hundreds of Syrian refugees in the York Region and Toronto area Aug. 7.

“We have over 200 new Syrian-Canadians here today,” said JCC assistant treasure Azim Panju. “We’ve got just under 100 volunteers including 15 dentists, dental hygienists and community members, English-speakers and Arabic translators as well.”

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Related: How can the Syrian refugees get their documents translated?

Posted: 08/08/2016 - 14:43

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