My family had a good life in Syria before the war. My husband was a lawyer and I taught at the local university. But after the war began, our lives quickly changed. I would say goodbye to my daughter every time I left the house, unsure if I’d ever return. When it became too dangerous to even walk out our front door, we knew it was time to re-locate.
We were scared and increasing hopeless as we waited for our refugee application to be approved. When we finally arrived in Canada, it was a huge relief. A life in our new country brought safety, but also a new language and culture. We felt lonely and overwhelmed. We quickly realized we’d need more help to settle in our new home.
Fortunately, we met some fellow Syrians who told us about a United Way funded agency that provides newcomers like us with support and settlement services. They helped us access health care, get insurance, and provided us with daycare for our daughter so we could take language lessons. I was especially grateful for the social aspects of the agency’s programming. They not only help newcomers integrate into the community, they also help our community get to know us. They helped us turn our community into a home.
Today, when I think of the future, I have hope. I am incredibly grateful to United Way donors who help new Canadians like me thrive in my new community.
We are all Calgary.
Together, we are all stronger. Meet a few of the 178,700 people like Rama who are helped each year.