Updates

Calgary Metro - Assma Yassin had one dream: to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. And on Saturday, her dream finally came true.

The 17-year-old Syrian refugee, who arrived on the plane from Lebanon carrying a portrait of her hero, met him at Calgary Centre MP Kent Herh’s pancake breakfast.

The meeting has been a long time coming. Metro first reported on Yassin’s story back in March, explaining how the young artist had painted a portrait of Trudeau with the hopes of meeting him and thanking him for allowing Syrian refugees to find a new home in Canada.

And Friday she narrowly missed meeting the PM at the Genesis Centre pancake breakfast, while her sister was luckier and posed for a selfie with him.

Now, Yassin said she can’t believe it finally happened.

“I waited for so long and now I have met Justin and thanked him for the people of Syria,” she said. 

Posted: 07/19/2016 - 14:33

CBC News North - Whitehorse could soon welcome its second family of Syrian refugees - maybe as early as September.

The Riverdale Baptist Church says it recently received word that it has been paired with a "travel-ready" family of five, now living in Turkey.

"I think we're all really excited," said Hillary Gladish, from the church's organizing committee. 

"There's some trepidation, and it's pretty daunting  — now, finally, this is coming together and the work is just beginning."

Yukon's first Syrian refugee family arrived last winter, sponsored by the local group Yukon Cares. The Riverdale Baptist Church began its efforts to host another family, around the same time.

  • Syrian family settles into Yukon life with big welcome from locals
Posted: 07/15/2016 - 13:47

Anglican Journal Richmond Hill Ont - Since last September, when the world first saw the body of the little Syrian refugee, Alan Kurdi, washed up on a shore in Turkey, Anglicans in 14 dioceses across Canada have sponsored and resettled 1,750 refugees, members of General Synod heard Tuesday, July 12.

In all, $20 million was raised to support refugee resettlement and sponsorship, William Postma, recently appointed director of The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) said in a presentation to synod, in its last day of meetings.

It’s evidence, Postma said, of how the Anglican Church of Canada “punches above its weight” when it comes to refugee work.

“This deserves more than an acknowledgment, but a celebration,” he said.

Posted: 07/15/2016 - 11:59

City of Markham understands how important it is for you and your family to get to know the new community you have recently moved to.

To assist you in learning about your community, we have developed the One Family program. This program is an opportunity for families to come together with other Syrian families who are also living in Markham, to share experiences, access community information and participate in a planned activity.

Agenda:
2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Sharing and Information Session
4:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. Family Swim

Activities will include a family swim, so please bring your bathing suits.

Date: Saturday, July 23, 2016
Time: 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Location:
Cornell Community Centre and Library,
3201 Bur Oak Avenue, Markham

In order for us to plan ahead, we ask that you confirm your attendance by contacting Brieanna Gabbard at 905-477-7000 ext. 3670 or by e-mail: bgabbard@markham.ca

Posted: 07/13/2016 - 15:08

Global News Winnipeg - A federal government grant provided through the Immigration Refugee Citizenship in Canada (IRCC) has given 22 Syrian refugees currently living in Winnipeg the chance to spend a week at the University of Manitoba.

Adults will spend the day learning English language skills through the extended education program, while children (ages 4-16) will be exploring their adventurous sides at Mini-U.

“We picked up all the families and children on a bus, drove them to campus and will be driving them back at the end of the day,” said Jay Gamey, director of programming for Mini-U.

During the day, the children will partake in our Minu-U programs, things like dodgeball, basketball, soccer and science, while the adults take different types of programming through extended education.”

Lasting from July 11 until July 22, both programs offer the refugees a chance to begin integration within the community, which is particularly critical for the children.

Posted: 07/13/2016 - 14:32

CNW Toronto - To continue the warm Canadian welcome that started at the airport for the 56 flights that landed as part of the Government of Canada's Syrian Refugee Program, Toronto Pearson International Airport launched the Propeller Project Syrian Newcomer Transit Pass Program.

This program used funds collected from passengers and employees in the in-terminal coin globes from December to March and matched them through Toronto Pearson's Propeller Project to provide transit passes for the government-sponsored Syrian Refugees who have settled in the GTA, both those who have already arrived and those who will continue arrive through the rest of 2016. 

Why transit passes? Easy access to transportation is essential for Syrian newcomers to be able to access important programming and essential tools, as well as build fulfilling, independent lives in Canada.

Posted: 07/11/2016 - 16:15

Maclean’s - From a lonely existence as refugees to joy and community in Peterborough.

In Peterborough, Ontario - home to a few thousand of those YouTube clicks, at the very least—a 13-year-old girl is dancing in her living room, mimicking the moves from the video. Her name is Ansam Al-Debaijel, and she’s a few days away from finishing Grade 7. “Now watch me whip!” she sings, bobbing up and down in dark-blue jeans and a grey hijab. “Now watch me nae nae!” Her curly-haired little sister, nine-year-old Dalya, follows along beside her.

“Sometimes I still feel like it’s a dream,” she says.

It’s hard to blame her. Six months ago, this family of Syrian refugees—a single mother and her three kids—was holed up in a tiny, squalid apartment in Lebanon, their latest stop after years on the run (first from their home city of Homs, obliterated by Syria’s civil war, then from Islamic State-controlled territory in the north). After crossing into Lebanon in 2014, they survived largely on the generosity of friends and relatives. If the children ate a meal, it was a good day.

Posted: 07/05/2016 - 10:47

Times Colonist - The tough thing about observing Ramadan in a northern country: You can’t eat or drink until sunset, but sunset isn’t until 9:19 p.m. today.

That’s an hour and half later than back in Syria.

No problem, say Osama and Hanadi Shelleh. Fasting here is easy. It’s cooler in Victoria. When you do turn on the tap, you know water will flow out. There’s electricity, not like the dark days when Hanadi had to cook outside over an open fire — that is, when she could find food.

Most of all, Canada is safe.

The biggest surprise for the Shellehs? How much support they found here. How welcoming Canadians have been. How diverse it is, and how respectful people are of each other’s beliefs. Maybe they make us sound better than we really are. Or maybe they got it right.

Posted: 07/05/2016 - 10:28

The Globe and Mail Toronto - Ms. Fakhereddin arrived in Toronto just a week ago to join her son, who has been here a year. The two are Syrian refugees sponsored by members of the United Church of Canada, and they are keenly aware that they haven’t gone through the hardships that many others in the kitchen have, most of whom are on government assistance.

Len Senater runs the Depanneur, an informal kitchen in Toronto’s Annex area hosting culinary experiments of all kind. His newest project was founded on a simple idea: bringing Syrian women into a large, shared kitchen so that they could cook meals for their families while they were stuck in hotels on arrival.

In the few weeks since it began, the idea has expanded into a weekly pop-up event, made open to the public.

“By leveraging the popularity of pop-up dining, we’re clearing the path to the amazing latent talent that is in this community, so they can find a way to monetize their skills in a way that is dignified and equitable,” Mr. Senater says.

Posted: 07/04/2016 - 14:13

TheStar Toronto - Mohamad Saer Alashmooty celebrates with his Grade 8 class an event he could only dream of just 5 months ago, when he arrived in Canada as a refugee.

He’s here, yet still seems somewhat apart: the Syrian boy who had the bad luck to land in a tight-knit Canadian Grade 8 class during its final year — but the good fortune to have come to this country at all.

Five months after Mohamad Saer Alashmooty arrived in a wave of 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada, the 14-year-old sits alone, separated by language, as classmates grab selfies together before their graduation ceremony at Scarborough’s Military Trail Public School.

It can take time to truly belong.

But then classmate Rahim Saleem comes over and grabs his hand, “to come join in the fun,” he said. “We want him to take pictures with us and not feel lonely.”

So maybe it doesn’t take that long after all.

These are the up-and-down rhythms of becoming a Canadian when you have come from a war zone.

Like many young refugees, Mohamad Saer has had little schooling because of the civil war. He does not read or write in Arabic — he was last in school when he was just 8 — so he is in a special LEAP class (Literacy Enrichment Academic Program) for part of each day, for students with major gaps in their learning.

Posted: 07/04/2016 - 13:22

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