Calgary group connects refugees with locals
Sometimes even choosing the right milk can be a challenge made easier with a friend
A group in Calgary is playing matchmaker, hoping to connect as many Syrian refugee families with Calgarians as possible.
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The Muslim Families Network Society held a dinner Saturday night to pair up locals and newcomers in order to form new friendships
Sami Aldalati says he likes his new home but finds the language barrier tough.
The 12-year-old Syrian refugee says the hardest part is not being able to understand what other people are saying.
Aldalati's translator Tulip Raslan is helping three Syrian families navigate life in a new country.
"I helped a lady to pick the right kind of milk because she didn't know that's one per cent, that's two per cent, that's three per cent," Raslan explained.
"She thought it was different companies [but] it was different percentages of fat in the milk, so it's kind of difficult. It is a new start."
The dinner was packed. About 400 attended including 90 newly arrived Syrian families.
Calgarian Khaled Chaabani connected with a few of the families and became a go-to for questions.
"From the simple question, how to get the bus or the train, how to look for a job … to help them to get integrated into society in a safe way," Chaabani said.
For Aldalati though, he has made a new friend and he is enjoying his new home.
"All of Calgary is beautiful," Aldalati said through his interpreter.
"I love how the kids here are very friendly … I go for bike rides and play on a PlayStation with my friend."
The Muslim Families Network Society says it's still looking for more volunteers to help out because the need continues to grow.
With files from Kate Adach