First Syrian refugee family settling in well to Island life

The first Syrian refugee family who came to Campbell River are settling nicely to their new lives in Canada.

  • Nov. 10, 2016 12:00 p.m.

Madi Barhoum

The  first Syrian refugee family who came to Campbell River are settling nicely to their new lives in Canada.

The Campbell River Syrian Refugee Support Committee is grateful for all the support given by the community to date.

Now the committee is excited by the prospect of receiving its second family.

After diplomatic delays, the arrival of a mother and her two teenaged children is expected soon.

The committee hopes the community will once again help out.

Their regular weekly meeting will be open to all interested persons on Monday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. at the annex of St. Peter Anglican Church on Dogwood Street at Pinecrest Street.

They welcome the public to join them in their presentation of what they have done to make a home for the first family, and what they are doing in preparation for the newcomers.

The committee can always use more helping hands helping the families get established, and they need new ideas for promotion and fund raising.

The committee has accepted the responsibility of supporting these families for the first year of their new lives in Canada.

They are determined that they be successful.

Do you want to be a part of this continuing effort? They invite you to join them, and look forward to your participation.

The family arrived on June 7, 2016 after travelling nearly 24 hours from Lebanon.

Since then, they have been settling in, going to school and finding employment.

The five, who are BaBa Gannouj co-owner Merell Awad’s mother, Samira Mitias, Awad’s sister, Huda Nassar, her husband, Madi Barhoum, and their two teenage sons, Elias, 17 and Lion, 14.

Awad says they’ve been welcomed by the community with open arms.

“The neighbours (where Nassar and Barhoum are renting) were so welcoming, they came by with big baskets with gift cards and things like that,” says Awad. “And a lot of people have been coming into the restaurant with welcoming gifts. There was a big package of tea for my mom (who is living with Awad and her husband Fouad) and someone came in with a really nice frame.”

Her husband, Madi, has also been keeping busy.

“Madi is already working, he found seasonal employment as a diesel mechanic,” Awad says.

In between work, the family has taken time out to attend a couple of community festivals, the Farmer’s Market, the Filberg Festival in the Comox Valley, and they’ve even been to McIvor Lake.