The horror, the confusion, the hope: A refugee family tells its story

EDMONTON – A Syrian family, newly arrived in Edmonton, is thanking the city and the country for giving them shelter from the atrocities of war.

Shiyar Abdullah and his wife Narin Qaragoulr left their jobs at a pharmaceutical company and as a psychologist, respectively, with their three-year-old son Payam in tow.

Forced to leave their beloved homeland behind when a brutal war broke out in Syria, they are now among the 25,000 refugees the federal government has promised to bring to Canada by February.

READ MORE: Alberta sets aside $1.25M to support Syrian refugee resettlement 

Speaking to us with the help of an interpreter, Narin said she is hoping their story will inspire other Canadians to help.

“We are good people. We are not all fighters,” she said. “We have never had any problems. It was brought to us.”

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Shiyar said they want to contribute to the community and are currently taking classes through Catholic Social Services. CSS has settled 84 Syrian refugees in the past year. Of those, 60 have been settled in Edmonton.

READ MORE: Here’s how refugees are screened before arriving in Canada

CSS said each person or family it brings over has a different story, but they all are coming for the same reason.

“Refugees come with a commitment to become members of our community and that is their first priority,” said Kathryn Friesen, Program Manager of Refugee Programs at CSS.

“They have hope that their children will be successful here in Canada and they sincerely hope to make whatever contribution they can to our society.”

READ MORE: From coast to coast, how Canadians can help Syrian refugees 

The family is hoping and asking Canadians to be open to the idea of welcoming other families just like theirs.

“We still have family there, under this horrific war,” said Narin. “Please help us. We are willing to be good Canadians. Other [Syrians] need your help.”

WATCH: Our Erin Chalmers spoke to a young family who fled Syria and are starting a new life here in Edmonton. They share their emotional journey.