August 17, 2016 7:04 pm

Calgary program makes going back to school easier for immigrant teens

WATCH ABOVE: Playing ball hockey for the first time is just a warm-up for a major learning experience for some new arrivals in Calgary. Here’s Gil Tucker, with immigrant teens getting a bit of back-to-school coaching from some young Calgarians familiar with their journey.

A A

Some young Calgarians who came to Canada as refugees are now helping other new arrivals adjust to life in Canada.

It’s part of the Calgary Bridge Foundation’s summer mentorship program, with the focus on coaching teens from other countries on what to expect when they step into a Canadian classroom for the first time.

READ MORE: Syrian refugees experience 1st summer camp in Calgary

Global News
Help us improve Globalnews.ca
Story continues below

Fatima Alawad, 16, remembers what it was like when she arrived from Syria eight months ago.

“I left Syria because of the war,” Alawad said. “I felt, when I came, very scared.”

Alawad and another peer mentor, 18-year-old Yohannes Nirayo, are now introducing immigrant teens to the basics of school life, teaching them things like how to use a locker.

READ MORE: ‘I know what these people feel’ – Syrian refugees help Fort McMurray wildfire evacuees

Nirayo came to Canada three years ago from Ethiopia.

“It wasn’t really safe for us,” he said.

Both find helping young immigrants to be very rewarding.

“I know the struggle,” Nirayo said. “Leaving all your family, friends that you left behind.”

“I want to help people because I know what they’re feeling,” Alawad said. “In Canada, I’m very happy, because Canada is my new home now. It’s my life.”

The Calgary Bridge Foundation runs programs for immigrant students throughout the school year.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error

Comments

Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.