The Canadian government has fulfilled its promise to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to the country with the last of those families arriving over the weekend. On Monday, those settling in Nova Scotia flew into the Halifax Stanfield International Airport.
The Ayash family, with five children between the ages of four and 14, came via Jordan. They had fled there from their home in Syria after the civil war broke out.
They were sponsored by a group know as the Lunenburg and Area Refugee Committee (LARC). The multi-faith community group has been working with the family for months and have found them a home on the waterfront.
“I am very grateful and thankful for all people here in Lunenburg, especially for LARC group who support us and introduce to us everything,” said Ahmad Ayash, the father of the family.
Ayash says the children are especially excited to be in Nova Scotia and are eager to learn more about their new home.
“Try to adapt to a new community and…you know orientation, familiarization,” he said.
LARC is also trying to get the family settled by finding Ayash a job.
“We hope because he’s an engineer, that he’ll have a marketable skill,” said Michael Mitchell, an archdeacon at St John’s Anglican Church and member of LARC.
“We have a committee looking at re-certification, what’s involved in that. We have an interview lined up for him with the head of a large company that’s in Lunenburg and that’s pending for later in the week.”
Also arriving in Halifax was the Almasalmeh family, who was sponsored by St. Paul’s Church in Halifax and will be staying in the city.
The sponsors only discovered the family was on their way to Nova Scotia last Wednesday, and had to scramble to find them an apartment. While they were able to find a spot, the family won’t be able to move in for a few weeks, so they will be staying with a community member for the time being.
“I think the government has been overwhelmed by the number of refugees that they’re trying to bring in and so I’d say the logistics have not been great,” said Bill Lord, a member of the St. Paul’s Refugee Sponsorship Committee.
“We have never had any official notification until the very last minute.”
According to Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS), Halifax has welcomed 636 government-sponsored Syrian refugees. The number of privately sponsored refugees isn’t clear but ISANS esimates that to be more than 100.