A Burundian refugee family would both reunite and be welcomed to their new home at the Saskatoon airport.
The family of six recently arrived in Saskatoon and welcomed the last family member onto Saskatchewan soil Thursday night.
READ MORE: How does Canada’s refugee system work?
Since their arrival, Jean Pierre and Elvire, along with their four kids and a relative, all from Burundi, are settling into their new home.
The French-speaking family was privately sponsored by École St. Matthew School.
The process was expected to take three to five years, but instead took only 18 months.
Krista Schreiter was at the airport to welcome the family. She is the co-chair of the St. Matthew refugee committee and said she felt she wanted to do something when she saw refugee crisis images on the news and wanted to help.
“We really feel that God had a hand in this to make this story really become a reality. It went very quickly from an idea in all of our minds that would probably be impossible and difficult,” Schreiter said.
The family is among almost a quarter million refugees who fled the small African country’s years-long civil war.
Through a translator, Elvire said her children are “going to have a good life here in Canada. It’s not good right now in Rwanda and in Burundi.”
The school raised $30,000 to bring the family to Canada, with fundraising efforts from lemonade stands, to students asking for donations instead of birthday presents.
The St. Matthew School community even donated household items and furniture to fill the family’s home.
“Some families are donating gift cards for grocery stores and rides to appointments, so it really is a whole school effort,” Schreiter said.