Syrian refugees connect with Syrians living in Manitoba

WINNIPEG — Syrian refugees connected with other Syrians already living in Manitoba at a dinner held at Winnipeg Grand Mosque.

Fifteen families, all of whom arrived in the province within the last month, were the guests of honour.

“We just want to make sure that they have people here to go to when they need any kind of help and support, someone they can relate to and understand them,” said Tarek Habash, co-founder of the Syrian Assembly of Manitoba.

This support system is all the more important for Syrian refugees given the traumatic events they may have seen or experienced, said Habash.

The Syrian Assembly of Manitoba hosted the event which was attended by nearly 200 people.

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One of the newcomers was Lina Oubaidat, who landed in Winnipeg with her husband and six children last week.

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“She’s really happy about being here today because she’ll get to be introduced to the other Syrians in Manitoba, especially Winnipeg,” said Oubaidat through an interpreter.

RELATED: First wave of Syrian refugees welcomed to Manitoba

Syrian families already established in the province brought home-cooked food and helped prepare the mosque for the event.

“There’s lots going in terms of the settlement work but as the Syrian community we’re responsible for making sure that they’re socially included,” said Salam Al Sayed, who brought a traditional middle-eastern desert.

The Syrian Assembly of Manitoba is planning to host more events that will connect Syrian refugees with a wider range of Manitobans.

A spokesperson for the provincial government says 84 Syrians have now landed in Manitoba as part of the federal government’s promise to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees in Canada.

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