Syrian Refugees are feeling welcomed
The welcome mat is out in Nanaimo as an influx of refugees are expected within a six month span.
“We’ve got people calling saying I’ve got this I’ve got that,” says Tony Davis, assistant refugee sponsorship coordinator for the Anglican Diocese of BC. “‘Can you use it for the Syrian refugees?’ And this is the result of all of those donations. Couches, bedding, beds.”
In South Nanaimo there’s a portable holding many household items for refugee families on their way to central Vancouver Island.
Donated TV’s, furniture and kitchen wares meant to give the refugees a head start when they arrive.
“In general they’re being very well received,” says Davis. “And people are very anxious to recognize them and to accept them as new citizens.”
There was a warm welcome for a family of four which arrived in Nanaimo in late January. They’re among up to 120 refugees expected to arrive on Central Vancouver Island within six months. That’s before factoring in refugees that are fully government sponsored, that may arrive in the region.
This family only learned they were coming to Canada just before getting on a plane that made multiple stops on the way to Nanaimo.
“The next day they realize they’re in a mountainous environment, trees, green,” says Davis. “You know their homeland where they’ve been living is desert, you know in the refugee camps. You can imagine the assault on their senses. ”
Among those greeting them at the airport was another Syrian refugee who arrived in Nanaimo with his family 18 months ago.
“It’s not an easy process to be adapting in the country,” says Feras Saedam. “We are doing well. My kids are going to school. They’re correcting my English now. My wife starts to speak good English (and is) communicating with many people. She has Canadian friends as well me too.”
Saedam says there needs to be a solution to the Syrian conflict so people can return but he feels a part of Canada and now this is their home.
“They do a great thing for refugees here. We will be grateful always for this opportunity to be in a safe place.”
Families so grateful to be able to provide their children better opportunities for the future. The next family of four from Syria is arriving in Nanaimo this week.