Tima Kurdi is known as the aunt of the “Boy on the Beach.”
Her nephew, Alan Kurdi, drowned in the Mediterranean Sea as his family tried to escape Syria in 2015. He was just three-years-old.
When pictures of the aftermath circulated, the world stopped. Now, Kurdi says, the world has moved on.
“I’m standing here today five years later, and everywhere you look … every corner of the world you see the suffering and those people continue to flee their home,” Tima Kurdi told Global News.
“And the world … back to silence.”
An advocate, author and public speaker – Kurdi spoke to hundreds inside an auditorium at New Brunswick Community College’s St. Andrews Campus, with thousands more tuning in online.
It was a thought-provoking conversation that left many of the attendees wanting to do more.
“We have to have the love and help people and just have to help each other,” said Patrick Jorie Mensah Kane, a student at New Brunswick Community College.
“Now that I’ve been thinking about all the stuff that they’ve gone through … There’s a lot of stuff going through my head about it so I’ll definitely look into it more,” said Jordan DelDuca, a student at Fundy Middle and High School.
Kurdi has been using her platform to call for more refugee support, focusing her talks on post-secondary students, whom she refers to as the leaders of tomorrow.
“I know this story is sad,” says Kurdi, “But I believe this story needs to be told.”
Kurdi says she will continue her journey, with no plans to stop spreading the message until there’s tangible, sizable change.
Between Nov. 4, 2015 and Aug. 31, 2019 Canada has welcomed 44,590 Syrian refugees through its resettlement program. New Brunswick took in 9,345 of them.