Syrian refugees arrive to warm welcome
Published Tuesday, December 20, 2016 11:14PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 21, 2016 9:04AM EST
Two Syrian refugees received a warm welcome Tuesday evening as they arrived in Canada
Mohamad Sarhan and Dounia Almelhm will be entering Concordia University on scholarships.
The young adults were attending high school in Turkey but the Syrian Kids Foundation, a Canadian charity, joined with Concordia to give them a new life in Montreal.
Their high school principal made the trip with them.
"The father told me that we left Syria, we left our home but we didn't feel the same feeling as now because we were all together and this is the first time one of the member of our family is leaving," said Hazar Almahayni.
Getting to this point has taken a lot of hard work.
For the past year and a half, Sarhan has been taking weekly English lessons from a Montreal university student over Skype.
He was living in Raqqa, Syria before fleeing the civil war.
"There were just were a lot of bombardings over the city, many schools have been destroyed and many houses. Sometimes there were attacks on our neighbouhood," said Sarhan.
Almelhm's father was killed four years ago, in the second year of the war. Her family is scattered around the world.
"My brothers and my mom in Qatar, my sister in Germany, and now I'm here," said Almelhm.
Both students know they are very fortunate.
"It's like a dream come true, I have been working on that for a long time," said Sarhan.
Almelhm is also ready to keep working hard, knowing she has to complete a B.Sc in Molecular Biology before studying to become a doctor.
"I'm happy because I'm going to start here my study to study medicine here in Canada," she said.
Their principal is very aware of how fortunate her students are.
"All Syrians are really suffering a lot. I know hundreds of students without any future, without any hope... so I know this is a happy and successful end for a long journey," said Almahayni.
Being here means facing new challenges but they are not completely alone.
Sarhan's father was watching his son's arrival at Trudeau airport on Facetime, and both students will continue to get help from the Syrian Kids Foundation.
"They are an example really, ambassadors for Syrian refugees," said Faisal Alazem.
He said they will face challenges adapting not only to life in Canada, but also meeting the academic challenges as they strive to succeed.
"A combination of resettlement, giving them a safe space, a new stable country, opening up a new page in their life, but what's very important is that partnership with Concordia where they get to advance their education with these scholarships," said Alazem.