'I used to worry about my life every day,' Syrian students share their stories for Remembrance Day
Each student has a message for their classmates at Sheldon-Williams Collegiate
Three Syrian refugees are reminding their classmates at Sheldon-Williams Collegiate in Regina to not take peace for granted.
Abdul Mustafa, Mays Al Jamous, and Nour Albaradan, were approached by their EAL teacher Kyla Wendell McIntyre to present at the high school's Remembrance Day service.
"I've spent a large part of my career working with children who come from war. It's really interesting because the countries are changing but the story is not," said Wendell McIntyre.
"If we are smart and listen to what they will tell us, then we can learn from that experience."
17-year-old Abdul Mustafa has been living in Canada for almost two years. He says that students at his high school and even teachers, don't know much about the Syrian war.
"I'm so excited to teach the Canadian students about war because war is a big, big problem and if it starts, it's never going to end," said Mustafa.
He says he wants his classmates to hear his story because he never wants Canadians to experience what he had to.
"Canadian people think Syria is very different than Canada but it's almost so similar. They think that war could never happen in Canada but it can happen in an instant."
He describes that walking around Toronto today would have been a lot like walking around Damascus seven years ago.
In his speech, he explains that while most Syrians have fled their home country, many stayed behind because they didn't have the means or money to leave.
"When you live in war, everything is gone. You can't go to school, you can't even leave the house – in fact, I stayed in my house for 18 days straight because it wasn't safe," said Mustafa.
He says his neighbourhood had to rely on each other for food, shelter and child care.
"We knew we would either all survive together or all die alone," said Mustafa.
It gets better
Grade 10 student Mays Al Jamous remembers the hardships she faced, leaving Syria, family, and neighbours behind, and living in a refugee camp in Jordan.
I used to worry about my life every day and now I'm living in a safe country and I'm very grateful for my life here.- Mays Al Jamous
The first lesson she learned from living through the war is that every day is precious because you never know if you'll survive to live the next day.
"You have to keep hope about your life...and your city, and your family, and your country because things get better," said Al Jamous.
She says she spent time praying for her life to get better while in Jordan, and it did. She moved to Canada two years ago.
"My life now is great. I used to worry about my life every day and now I'm living in a safe country and I'm very grateful for my life here," said Al Jamous.
Responsibility to keep peace
Nour Albaradan was 10 years old when the war broke out in Syria. She says she went from playing with toys and friends to fleeing her home.
"I want Canadian students to know more about peace and to realize we are all human and we need to keep peace in our country," said Albaradan.
Albaradan wrote a poem called Being Human. She says she hopes it empowers students to take on the responsibility of keeping Canada peaceful.
"If one person is good to another person, nothing bad will happen. Everyone thinks to change the world, but no one thinks to change themselves," said Albaradan.
"Each person can do something to save the world from war. In fact, each person must do something. Peace starts with our actions, being kind, working as a group, accepting difference, and helping each other. This is the way of peace."