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3 Feel Good Stories About the Syrian Refugee Program

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It’s easy to see the situation in Syria and feel an impending sense of doom—but for every terrible act of violence, there is a greater tale of resilience and hope. These stories are a testament to the fundamentally hopeful nature of human beings to strive and preserve against the odds.

Refugees from war-torn Syria have known their share of pain and strife as they have been violently expelled from their homes. Some will have to assimilate to new countries while others continue to search for a new home. Since the crisis has begun, Canada has become one of the most welcoming countries for Syrian refugees and immigrants, having resettled almost 35,000 with the number growing every day.

Despite having lost so much, these people have been eager to make their new homes and futures in the rich and multicultural Canadian fabric. The struggle continues, but in the meantime, here are 3 feel-good stories from the Syrian refugee program that will restore your faith in humanity.

Syrian refugees give for the Albertan fire

Syrian refugees often arrive in Canada with nothing more than few bags and a new winter coat that the Canadian government has provided, having been forced to leave all other possessions behind in Syria.

And yet for a group of people who have lost so much, they are still remarkably quick to give. When a wildfire raged through Fort McMurray in May, Syrians flocked to contribute and help in any way they could.

Many Syrians could empathize with the plight of the Canadians affected by the fire: familiar images of being forced to abandon everything and flee an uncontrollable and raging force.

Refugees gave what little money or possessions they had, including clothes or furniture that they had just received from charitable Canadians a few months earlier. One Syrian man donated his entire monthly government allowance, saying he was eager to help further any way he could: “We are ready to do anything, we are ready to go to Alberta.”

Canadians give Syrian refugees the warmest welcome

Having traveled across the globe to escape the war, refugees may not expect to find a slice of home upon landing. But that’s exactly what happened when three Syrian families landed in John G. Diefenbaker International Airport in Saskatoon.

Despite a cold night of -12 C, Canadians showed up en masse to greet the refugees as warmly as possible with applause and welcome signs. A group of Canadians sang an Arabic song welcoming the 17 refugees, which included infants and young children. One of the singers explained, “It’s actually the song when our prophet Muhammed moved to Medina [from Mecca]. It’s basically about welcoming people.”

And this isn’t an isolated case—similar stories of such warm welcomes have been reported all over Canada.


A Syrian Wedding in Canada

Highschool sweethearts Mohamad Al-Noury, 21, and Athar Forroukh, 23, rushed to marry before the situation in Syria escalated. They were married only for ten days before the bombs started falling and they were forced to leave. A year later, the married couple would end up in Saskatoon, where they met CBC reporter Eman Bare.

When Athar mentioned that she had never got the chance to get wedding photos, Bare leapt into action, posting online: “Hey Saskatoon friends! Anyone want to get together for an improv wedding tomorrow? Yes I'm serious!”

The local community instantly rallied behind the young Syrian couple. Before the day was up, a venue, a dress, a suit, and food had all been donated. In the end, more than 50 people came together to throw a surprise Syrian wedding for Mohamad and Athar: full of food, music, and even a traditional Levantine folk dance.

The rest of Mohamad’s family remain at a refugee camp in Lebanon, but Mohamad was able to send them pictures of the grand affair through WhatsApp. “He said his mother couldn't stop crying,” Bare says.

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