Friday December 04, 2015

Syrian refugee settles into life in Canada, says he 'loves the humanity here'

Anas Al Abdullah (c) is a newly-arrived Syrian refugee now living in Toronto.  Ammar Youzbashi is part of the Ripple Refugee project, the private group that is sponsoring Anas and his family to come to Canada. Host Piya Chattopadhyay meets Anas Al Abdullah for the first time.

Anas Al Abdullah (c) is a newly-arrived Syrian refugee now living in Toronto. Ammar Youzbashi is part of the Ripple Refugee project, the private group that is sponsoring Anas and his family to come to Canada. Host Piya Chattopadhyay meets Anas Al Abdullah for the first time.

Listen 14:47

"The rebels, and the regime, they start fighting in my city... then my house was shelled.  We had to leave the city. "  - Anas Al Abdullah, Syrian refugee who now lives in Toronto.

We've been following closely as Canada gets ready to welcome tens of thousands of Syrian refugees. And we've been paying special attention to one of the many private groups working to sponsor refugees.

That group is in Toronto and calls itself the Ripple Refugee Project.

Ripple Refugee Group

The Ripple Refugee Group. Back Row (Standing) (L to R): Pegi Dover, Rebecca Lewis, Dr. Jennifer Bryan, Irene Lang, Andrew, FitzGerald, Dr. Raghu Venugopal, Keith Beveridge, Karel Marselak. Middle Row (seated) (L to R): Barry Pearson, Rebecca Davies, Claudia Blume, Nancy Graham. Front Row (L to R): Marjorie Lamb, Dr. Wendy Lai. Missing: Tony Easty, Beth Savan, Jaimie Dufresne, Ammar Youzbashi, Phil Jessup.

Last week on The Current, we aired Piya Chattopadhyay's documentary about its efforts to bring in a Syrian family. 

Meet Anas Al Abdullah and his family

Refugee family's long journey to Canada2:09

And last Friday, we heard that the first member of that family of eight had arrived. Andrew FitzGerald from the Ripple Refugee Project filled us in on how 31 year old Anas was spending his first days in Canada.  

"He's very wide-eyed. I'm sure it all looks quite different for him, video-taping out of the window of the car." - Andrew FitzGerald, member of group who sponsored Anas Al Abdullah and family

Today, we meet Anas Al Abdullah. After just over a week in Canada he came by the studio with one of his sponsors, who also helped us with translation. Ammar Youzbashi emigrated from Syria in 2009, so has been helping the group with language and cultural issues.

Anas in studio with Piya

Anas Al Abdullah with sponsor and translator Ammar Youzbashi with host Piya Chattopadhyay in studio.

This segment was produced by The Current's Liz Hoath.