The Process of Settling In has Begun
The 400 or so Syrians who arrived in Saskatoon during the first few months of the year are now settled and starting to integrate into our community.
“And seeing these families establish themselves in Saskatoon gradually and participating in community connections events, settlement and integration programs is a good testament of how resilient these refugees are and their amazing ability of building their lives in their new communities.” says Ali Abukar, Saskatoon Open Door Society Executive Director.
In all, 1,100 Syrian refugees have arrived in Saskatchewan since December of 2015. Of those, 98 percent were government-assisted. The Open Door expects to receive another 159 global refugees before the end of 2016 and since the beginning of April, the agency has welcomed 30 people from Iraq, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Congo.
Now that the Syrian’s immediate needs, such as shelter, food and school have been met, the Open Door is working to ensure their long term goals are within reach. The focus is now on language training. There are now more than 100 Language Instruction for Newcomer to Canada (LINC) English classes being offered in the city, and 41 of those are at the Open Door. The others are being offered by SaskPolyTech, Global Gathering Place and Saskatchewan Intercultural Association. The Open Door has added four new classes to its existing roster and has placed 54 Syrian newcomers. This brings the total number of students receiving English language training at Open Door up to 550. There is also a wait list totalling 169, 22 of which are Syrians.
The community continues to come forward and volunteer and Community Connections now has more than 80 mentorships taking place. Additional Conversation Circles have been created so newcomers from all over the world can meet in a welcoming environment to practice their language and meet their neighbours.
“It's just going to be about a matter of time when we see these new refugees contributing to the community and welcoming other newcomers. Welcoming and opening our doors and our heats is the Canadian way, it's the Saskatoonian way!”
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Saskatoon Open Door Society will hold its Annual General Meeting on
Thursday, June 23, 2016 at 6:30pm. The meeting will be held at the
Open Door’s Early Learning Centre, Queen Elizabeth School (Gymnasium),
1905 Eastlake Ave, Saskatoon.
Syrian Fundraising Event a Tremendous Success
Saskatoon’s refugee community, in particular the newly-arrived Syrians, recently came together to show solidarity for the displaced citizens of Fort McMurray. The event, held Mon., May 16 at Civic Square, featured a mini cricket match, Syrian entertainment and food. Almost $2,000.00 was raised and will go to the Red Cross in support of Fort McMurray.
“We are one community. We are one body,” says Mohammad Alhelal, a Syrian refugee who arrived in Saskatoon Dec. 31, 2015. “Canadians helped us so we are willing to open doors for them.”
This event was facilitated by the Saskatoon Open Door Society, a settlement agency instrumental in the recent settlement of 400 Syrians in the city. On behalf of the Syrian refugee community, we would like to thank everyone who came out to support this worthwhile cause! Please check the Gallery for photos. For further media coverage, visit these sites: