Edmonton·Video

Syrian refugee family to start a new life in Edmonton

In 2014, Taher Istabouly went to visit his brother Maher in a Turkish refugee camp. He left knowing he had to do something to help his brother escape the grinding poverty.

'You can’t describe how you feel; it is like a gift from God'

Syrian family is reunited in Edmonton

7 years ago
Duration 1:44
Taher Istabouly brought his brother Maher and family from a refugee camp in Turkey. With bleak prospects in Turkey, Taher will support his brother until Maher can settle in Canada.

In 2014, Taher Istabouly went to visit his brother Maher in a Turkish refugee camp. He left knowing he had to do something to help his brother escape the grinding poverty.

"It is very hard to find jobs, there are no schools for the kids," Istabouly said. "Even if you find a job, it is way less than the average wage."

His brother was forced to move his family from Syria across the Turkish border into a refugee camp five years ago.

During the Syrian civil war, Maher Istabouly had lost all his possessions including his house. He was even detained in prison for 28 days. 

In an effort to find a better life for his brother's family, Taher Istabouly contacted the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers.

The centre runs a program aimed at bringing families to Canada as refugees.

Four-and-a-half months later, the brothers were reunited at the Edmonton International Airport Tuesday evening.

"You can't describe how you feel; it is like a gift from God," Istabouly said. "I feel they are safe here, the kids will go to school. That's what we need."

The two families will live together until family members can find jobs, learn English, and become acclimatized to Canadian society.

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