ISANS Celebrates World Refugee Day

Today is World Refugee Day. To mark the day, we celebrate the countless contributions former refugees bring to our communities, while building empathy and understanding to what it means to be a refugee. Jeannette and Mohammad have kindly offered to share their stories with us.

Jeannette’s Story

“On February 20th, 2018, marked my first day when my family first landed in Canada. This was after living in Uganda for many years as a result of political insecurities that had occurred in my home country (D.R.Congo) and the place become unsafe for living.

Upon reaching in Canada, it was a place for dream come through for me and my family. I remember how hard live used to be most of the time, such as to have access to food while in Uganda. Life was also a struggle and stress on how to access on the basic of living. our live in Canada has changed as we are able to have these basic of live such as shelter, food, and clean water.

Canada is indeed a very nice place to live, it is politically stable, has good infrastructures, and employment opportunities. One thing I love so much, is the education system here in Canada. It is of high quality, with resources available that enhance on learning. In addition to that, there is almost no doubt of failing to find job after has completed his or her studies something that encourages people to go to school so as to have a better live and this is what makes Canada to stand out for being a great society since education is something that is highly needed to make a good society, which is not the case with my home country as not everyone get the chance to go to school also, jobs are very limited something that discourages people from focusing in education.

The diverse life found in Canada, also makes living more fun. There are very many people from different culture, and it has always been a nice thing for me to get to connect with people who come from different places. In addition, it has always been great to hear to the stories that each one got on their side, and this bring about embracing the difference in all of us.

Life has always require having a positive sense of view and to be faced with courage, and I can testify that from every hardworking person I have meet here in Canada and this is what gives me the strength as well to work hard so that I can achieve my goals.”

Mohammad’s Story

“I am Mohammad Harb, I am originally from Syria/Dara’a. Daraa is a Syrian city, located in southern Syria close by the Syrian-Jordanian border. I am a graduate student from Damascus University with Bachelor of Architecture and my wife Jawaher is a math teacher. Before war, we had a very stable life, we almost had access to our basic needs. Me and my family were forced to leave Syria because of the bad situation in Syria so we escaped to Jordon. We lived in Refugee camp until we were selected to come to Canada from the UNICEF through the resettlement Canadian program and our journey to Canada then started.

Unfortunately, our journey was sad and full of challenges before we came to Nova Scotia. We were living in a refugee camp as I mentioned, I had to work there so I was a life skills coach with International Medical corps organization. I was a founder of a group of volunteers, my goal was to give people hope and optimism despite the tragedies and also to bring smile to their face.

I moved to Canada February 18, 2016 with my wife and eight children.

Luckily, I was selected to come to Halifax, Nova Scotia which I call it home now. I had so many challenges when I first arrived to Canada for example: language barriers, cultural differences, rising my eight children and not being able to work due to language barriers. I have over come all the barriers and learned English at ISANS in less than two years. Four of my children graduated from high school and went to colleges and universities. Rafat my oldest son graduated from NSCC with business administration diploma and he launched 3 business since we arrived to Nova Scotia. Two of my daughters are studying at Dalhousie University, Mervat looking to get into dentistry and Marwa is looking to get into law school. My son Maher is graduating this year from Halifax West High School and he is planning to study computer science. Gladly, two weeks ago we became officially Canadian citizens and this was our remarkable and memorable event in our life our whole family became Canadian citizens in the same day. We are so proud to say that we are Canadians and to call Canada our home.

Our journey was  challenging , successful , joyous and memorable.  I feel fully settled by now in Nova Scotia and I call it my home.”