Tima Kurdi welcomes her family to Metro Vancouver
Mohammad Kurdi, wife and 5 children have lived in Turkey for more than 2 years
The waiting is over for some relatives of the Syrian family that made headlines around the world after a tragic attempt to escape from their war-torn home country.
Mohammad Kurdi, his wife and their five children have arrived at Vancouver's airport into the welcoming arms of Tima Kurdi, who is privately sponsoring them as refugees in Canada.
The family became known around the world after photographs circulated showing the body of three-year-old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi, who died alongside his five-year-old brother and mother as they tried to reach Greece by boat.
"Thank you to the Canadian people," she told a crowd of reporters gathered around the family. "Thank you to Prime Minister Trudeau for opening the door and showing the world how everyone should welcome refugees and save lives."
Speaking through his sister, who translated from Arabic, Mohammad Kurdi also thanked Canadians and their government for making his dreams come true.
"I'm happy! Very happy!" he said. "We almost lost hope."
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Alan's father, Abdullah, Tima Kurdi's other brother, survived the capsizing. Tima Kurdi said after the tragedy she had been trying to get him to join her in Canada. Abdullah has since declined to come to Canada.
He now lives in Iraq's Kurdistan region. Tima said she wished Abdullah was in Canada. "All of us here wish you were here with us," Tima said when asked if she had a message for him.
Mohammad Kurdi has been in Germany since leaving his family in Turkey seven months ago to find work.
He had yet to meet his youngest son, Sherwan, who was born in July, but the family reunited in Frankfurt before flying to Canada.
His family, who were in Turkey for two years after fleeing Syria, will now move with Mohammad into the Kurdi home in Coquitlam.
Tima Kurdi said she plans to get the children registered in school and have her brother work as a barber alongside her at a hair salon.
When asked about moving to Canada, Shergo, 15, said he was looking forward to going back to school and starting a new life. Haveen, 16, simply said, "Thank you Canada, thank you everyone."
For Tima Kurdi, the day was about more than just her family.
"I'm speaking from my heart. [I want to] thank the world, every single person, every country [that] opened their heart to refugees. It means the world to the refugee."
Tima Kurdi also sent out a message to other refugees, urging them not to give up.
"There is always a light at the end of the tunnel. I walked through that tunnel. I did not see that light yet. But that doesn't mean it's the end.… Keep walking until you find your light."
With files from The Canadian Press