This is a much different December for Chairin Ghanam and her husband Oamr Ezzeddin.
The couple are among the hundreds of Syrian refugees who are now calling Regina their new home, after fleeing Syria and landing in Jordan.
“It’s so special coming to Canada because it’s safe and life is good,” Ghanam said.
“Every day [there is] a bomb. Every day children are killed… I don’t know what’s happening in my country,” she added.
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Ghanam’s husband, Oamr Ezzeddin, echoed those sentiments. The couple has been watching the situation unfold in Aleppo, Syria and said the contrast to Canada is immeasurable. Esseddin said in Canada, he feels safe.
“My country is not safe because of the war… Canada is very wonderful. Very peaceful,” he said.
Ezzeddin said him and his wife now face a new challenge —; adjusting to life in Canada. He said the frigid Saskatchewan temperatures were a shock, but he is getting used to the winter.
The Regina Open Door Society (RODS) has been helping the family integrate into Canadian society. Ghanam and Ezzeddin are taught English and other critical life skills
“Everything from catching a bus to how to manage their household, how to dress for winter… Language is very important but we have done life skills [to help] introduce them to the community,” RODS settlement and family services manager Getachew Woldyesus said.
RODS is also helping Syrian newcomers find work in Canada. According to language and employment services manager Tatiana Zotova, the biggest challenge facing newcomers are the language skills needed to be employed. Zotova said the group remains highly motivated.
The Ezzeddins are marking their first-year in Canada from Syria.
Taryn Snell / Global News
“It takes time, it takes effort. You need to be motivated. But I think our clients are doing really well because they see language as a really important part of the integration,” Zotova said.
In Syria, Ezzeddin repaired sewing machines for over 25 years. He has been learning English at RODS and said he is making progress.
“I’m learning English at Open Doors. I think after my English is better, I will find a job,” he said.
His daughters are also quickly integrating into Canadian life – they even like music idol Justin Bieber.
“His songs, I like his songs. He’s a Canadian,” Lana said.
“I like his hair,” she added with a laugh.