First group of Syrian Refugees Arrive in Regina
CBC News Posted: Dec 21, 2015 (Brian Rodgers/CBC)
Radi Al-Bardan and his family waited years and travelled a great distance to find their new home.
On Monday night, Regina's first group of government-sponsored Syrian refugees landed in the city.
Al-Bardan, his wife Safaa Khamees, and their son Rida received a warm welcome at the Regina International Airport. It was a long-awaited moment for the family.
A group of Regina residents gathered at the airport on Dec. 21 to welcome Syrian refugees to the city.
Al-Bardan and his family spent the past three years living in a refugee camp in Jordan. The father said their journey was difficult, but they are happy to arrive in Canada.
"He feels so happy because there is a chance for his child to be educated and to live peacefully," a translator said of Al-Bardan. "Life here will definitely be way better than what he experienced in the Zaatari camp."
For 8-month-old Rida, this is his first time living outside of a refugee camp.
Liberal MP Ralph Goodale and Regina Mayor Michael Fougere were among the group of people who greeted the refugees.
Goodale said it's "very, very satisfying" to see this coming to fruition.
"I think it really shows a real happy desire on the part of people in Regina to welcome these newcomers, to make sure they settle well in our community, that they become successful in our community," Goodale said. "It's something that the community wants very much to be proud of."
Goodale presented each family member with an original card, handmade by students at Wilfrid Walker School.
"In my office I have several hundred of these cards that the students have prepared," he said. "They wanted to make sure that the newcomers could see, from the schoolchildren of Regina, that there's a warm welcome waiting for them here in this community."
From the airport, the family was taken to a temporary home. On Tuesday, a case worker will begin working with the family.
The Regina Open Door Society said it will work closely with the newcomers for six weeks while it assesses their needs.
In Saskatoon, five more refugees — two adults and three children — arrived quietly at the John G. Diefenbaker International Airport.
On Saturday night, a large crowd of people welcomed 14 Syrian refugees when they arrived in Saskatoon.