In 2016, nine-year-old Amani and her family came to Peterborough from Syria. Her youngest sister was born in the refugee camp a month earlier. Waiting for their parents at our office, the girls visited with staff to pass the time and they started to sing:
“I am a child with something to say, please listen to me
I am a child who wants to play, why don’t you let me?”
A young child sang this song A’atuna Al Toufoule (Give Us Childhood), during the Lebanese civil war in the 80s. It brought back many memories for me when listening to Amani and her sibling.
There was a lot of uncertainty in those early days for the family. They were far from their loved ones and also navigating much that was unfamiliar:
– creating a new home
– trying to find work
– sorting out schooling for their children
– learning English
– coping with isolation, and
– trying to heal from the instability that the war created.
Because of you, children like Amani and their families have the chance to start anew.
The family accessed resources to meet their needs through the New Canadians Centre and made friends with the volunteer team. Now, Amani’s dad fondly refers to the leader of the support group as “Brother Ken”.
This is their fifth year of settlement in Canada. Recently, Amani and her sisters were very happy to receive their Canadian citizenship.
Your support changes lives.
A gift from you today means that immigrants and refugees can:
– stay informed and connected
– feel like they belong in this community, and
– know that someone cares.
In the last two years, my colleagues and I have worked with an unparalleled number of individuals and families in crisis due to economic and political instability.
We are relying on you more than ever.
Today, Amani is a happy and confident first-year student at high school. Her three sisters are well-settled at elementary school. Her father is proud to be part of the team at Chemong Home Hardware. Her mother is looking forward to opening her own hair salon one day.
“I want to be a doctor or a nurse. I want to help others, and I want to protect people,” says Amani.
As an immigrant to Canada myself, I know how important it is for families to feel safe and have a chance to succeed.
Please consider making a gift to the New Canadians Centre in 2021 to help immigrants and refugees feel that they belong.
New Canadians Centre Peterborough
P.S. Sending your gift today will help children, youth and adults who are new to Canada during this most critical time.