Rama and her husband, Fares, knew it was time to re-locate to Canada from Syria when it became increasingly dangerous to even walk out their front door.
“We often went through long periods without water or electricity,” Rama recalls. “When I did have to leave the house, I would say goodbye to my daughter and I would never know if I would come back or not.”
The couple felt scared and increasingly hopeless as they waited four long years for their immigration and refugee application to be approved.
When the family finally arrived in Canada, it was huge relief. But they quickly realized they’d need more help to settle in to their new home.
“It’s very difficult to come to a new country where you don’t know the language,” says Rama, who taught at a local university prior to arriving in Canada. “We had to get around and try to understand all the documents we had to fill out. There are so many things you need to do when you arrive, and this wasn’t always easy.”
A United Way agency provided the family with information, support and a variety of services to newcomers including childcare and settlement services. They also took language classes for eight months, full-time, while their daughter was in daycare at the agency.
The agency also helped Rama and Fares, who worked as a lawyer in his home country, fill out forms, access health care, get insurance and complete many other important administrative tasks that come with moving to a new country. But Rama is especially grateful for the social aspects of the agency’s programming that helped them get to know people in the community and learn about their new home.
“When I think of the future now, I have hope,” adds Rama, who is incredibly grateful to United Way donors like you who are helping new Canadians just like her receive a warm welcome.
Help give people like Rama and her family hope. Donate today.