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.”

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

Posted: 08/08/2016 - 14:43

CBC - A Calgary summer camp for kids new to Canada is in high demand this year, largely due to an influx of refugees from Syria.

The Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth said it's been inundated with calls and has had to turn some children away.

Last year, 445 children were enrolled in the day camp. Of the 585 kids enrolled this year, 128 are Syrian refugees.

The Bridge Foundation helps subsidize camp costs for low-income families.

"The Syrian refugee children that have been here just about a year will not pay at all," said Umashanie Reddy, the foundation's executive director.

Camp co-ordinator Rodney Noel says simple things, like a soccer game on a sunny day, take on more meaning for kids at the camp.

"Being able to just go and play and be kids will make a huge difference on these kids' lives because of where they came from," Noel said.

Posted: 08/08/2016 - 14:39

Bay Today - The City of North Bay welcomed North Bay’s third Syrian family tonight at Jack Garland Airport.  

Deputy Mayor Sheldon Forgette confirmed the news on the Syrian family that included a Mother, Father and three young boys. 

“The Mother and the Father walked through the door and they came and gave us a hug, they were crying and just so thankful to be here, it was something pretty magical,” Sheldon Forgette said via social media about the special moment greeting the family. 

Forgette along with members of Calvary North Bay Church were on hand at the airport to meet and greet the new North Bay family. 

This family was sponsored by the local church and not organized through the North Bay Refugee Committee like the other two families were.  

No details yet as to the name of the family and how long they have been waiting to get to Canada.  

Posted: 08/02/2016 - 13:38

CBC Hamilton - Manahel Al Shareef and her family have lived through horrors most Canadians couldn't imagine.

She came to Hamilton as a refugee from Syria back in February, trying to escape the unrest that has enveloped the country that she still loves.

But through those hardships has come new opportunity in Canada. Al Shareef wants the people in her new country to know a little about what it means to be Syrian — not war, but food.​ Along with two fellow refugee women, Dalal Al Zoubi and Rawa'a Aloliwi, she has helped launch Karam Kitchen — or simply, "The generous kitchen."

Business co-founder Brittani Farrington met the three women through Hamilton's Eucharist Church the day they first came to the city, back in February.

"They were always inviting my husband and I over for these beautiful dinners," Farrington said. "It's the classic case of generosity. They had nothing in their houses yet, but they're making us a feast."

Posted: 08/02/2016 - 13:38

CBC P.E.I. - All 11 members of a Syrian refugee family arrived on the Island Thursday morning.

The family was originally supposed to arrive from Turkey, where they had been staying in a refugee camp, on July 19 but their arrival was delayed.

A group of Queens County churches and a number of individuals, including Charlottetown resident Bonnie Stewart, are sponsoring the family.

The family has nine children, who range in age from five months to 16 years.

The family will be living at the Charlottetown Trinity manse, which the sponsorship group is renting for them.

The P.E.I. churches raised more than $50,000 to support the family. The group also ran a GoFundMe campaign that raised $26,000 with people donating from all over the world, including from Qatar, Australia and Scotland.

Posted: 08/02/2016 - 12:27

Edmonton Metro - Glengarry School has been a hub of activity this summer, as Syrian kids aged 6 to 12 assemble to paint, play sports and get a jump on some academic work before they start school in the fall.

It’s one of nine summer programs for Syrian newcomers, made possible by $245,000 in funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

The summer camps are a collaboration between many Edmonton groups. Coordinated by REACH Edmonton, groups like the Boys & Girls Club, Islamic Family and Social Services and the ASSIST Community Services Centre are all pitching in.

“Canada is working to ensure that Syrian refugees are connected to their new communities, in a meaningful way, as quickly as possible and REACH is proud to be a part of that,” Lindsay Daniller, Director of Community Initiatives and Strategic Development for REACH Edmonton, said in a release.

Refugees fleeing civil war began arriving in Canada late last year, with almost 3,000 settling in Alberta.

Posted: 08/02/2016 - 11:55