British Columbia·Refugees in B.C.

Syrian refugees grateful for opportunity to live in B.C.

At least two new Syrian refugee families arrived in B.C. Monday. As they settle in Richmond and Oliver, B.C., they say they are thankful for the chance at a better life in Canada.

Two new Syrian refugee families say they are thankful to be here

This young Syrian refugee arrived with her parents and siblings at Vancouver International Airport Monday night. (Bal Brach/CBC News)

Samer Alragheb and his wife Amna and 18-month-old son Layth were among the first to arrive Monday after the government announced its plans to bring 25 thousand Syrian refugees to Canada.

The Alragheb family was met by a group of local churchgoers who have sponsored the family, as well as the Syrian Canadian Council of B.C., which will help the family settle in Richmond.

"He said his dream was to come here," Alragheb said via a translator. "He told everyone in the past ... that his son's first steps will be in Canada and thank God it happened."

Samer Alragheb is one of the Syrian refugees who arrived at the Vancouver International Airport along with his wife and 18-month-old son on Monday. (CBC)

Jenny Toews is one of the group sponsors who helped bring the Alragheb family to Canada.

"We are hoping to give a family new opportunities, new life, independence and to support them in that transition," she said.

Sponsor Rikki Chakarabarti brought her children to the airport to greet the family.

""i just really want them to understand this is just the right thing to do, to help people," said Chakarabarti.

"We just found out a week ago they're arriving, so it's been a week of finding the house, setting the house up, making sure they have everything they need."

The Alghareb family was taken to a Richmond apartment that was set up by the group of sponsors.

Samer Alragheb said he is grateful to be in Canada and especially thankful to the Trudeau government.

When asked through his translator, Imad Sawaf, what he wants Canadians to know about Syria, he said, "the Syrian people are innocent. They've been treated very bad. What's happened is an extreme tragedy."

Not long after the Alghareb family left the airport, Mohammed and his family arrived to head to Oliver, B.C.

Like the Algharebs, Mohammed's family have spent years in Lebanon after feeling violence in Syria. 

In typical Canadian fashion, while waiting for their connecting flight to Penticton, they stopped at Tim Hortons for their first meal.

"I'm good," said an exhausted Mohammed.

Both families will now begin the process of settling in their respective communities, where sponsors will help coordinate language training, healthcare, school and job hunting.

Are you or someone you know sponsoring a refugee family? We'd like to hear from you. Email: "