Canada has welcomed 25,000 Syrian refugees. But many more families sit in camps waiting and hoping
Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Rahmad Awwad sold some of her blankets last December after being told her family would be taken from this shanty camp for Syrian refugees to a new life in Canada. But two weeks ago, she bought some of them back.

“Now I’m starting to lose hope, just a bit,” says Awwad, whom United Nations resettlement officials told in a text message to prepare for a Dec. 29 flight to Canada. The UN told her the Canadian embassy would contact her with more details, but it was the last she heard, despite her calls and messages to both the officials and the embassy.

“We thank God for what we have, but it’s getting more difficult,” she said on Sunday afternoon.

On Saturday night the 25,000th Syrian refugee landed in Canada, completing the first phase of the federal government’s resettlement plan. Families in this camp 18 kilometres from the Syrian border hope the government takes in even more — even if polls suggest Canadians feel otherwise.

“I just want my sons to have a future,” Awwad says, offering cups of coffee and date cookies.

Two years ago her husband left his printmaking company in their bomb-stricken hometown of Az-zara, 50 km west of Homs, to find a safe haven in Lebanon. Seven months later, in the midst of a government-led siege on the area, Awwad and her three pre-teen boys joined him.

“We were all skinny from hunger at that time,” says Awwad, a trained psychotherapist who hopes to help her traumatized compatriots in Canada.

 

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Source: National Post