Schoolkids welcome Syrian teen to Canada with heartfelt letters
Teen was held in confinement for 3 weeks at detention centre
A group of Grade 4 students in Toronto is trying to help make a Syrian teen — who was stuck in a detention centre in solitary confinement for three weeks — feel more welcome in his new home.
- Syrian teen to stay in Canada after deportation order cancelled
- Refugee housing challenges 'not insurmountable,' say those working to house Syrians
- Refugees get skating lessons from Elvis Stojko
The 16-year-old boy was set to be deported from the detention centre until Immigration Minister John McCallum stepped in and cancelled the order.
The teen can only be identified by his first name, Mohammed, for safety reasons.
After an awful beginning in Canada, Mohammed today will start his first day of school in the High Park area, and hopefully on a brighter note.
The Grade 4 class at Roland Michener Public School in Ajax, and their teacher Perry Milbury, hope the letters provide him with some cheer on the big day.
Milbury heard about the teen's plight on CBC Radio when he was on his way to teach at the school. He thought maybe his students could help.
Milbury got in touch with Mary Jo Leddy, the founder of Romero House, which was housing Mohammed until he was taken in by a local family.
Milbury decided to ask his students how they thought they could help in a class unit called 'Making a Difference'. The class decided that letters of hope and kindness might brighten the teen's day.
Leddy told Milbury that Mohammed likes math and swimming. They encouraged the students not to bring up his detention since it could be upsetting for Mohammed.