Manitoba

From Congo to Winnipeg, starting school in a new country

For one grade 12 student starting classes Tuesday at Gordon Bell High School, one of the main attractions about life in Winnipeg is that there's no gunfire

Teen still getting used to life without gunshots

For one Grade 12 student at Gordon Bell High School, one of the main attractions to starting classes in Winnipeg is that there's no gunfire. CBC's Aadel Haleem reports. 2:05

It's understandable when students, most heading back to school this week, are anxious and excited.

But for one Grade 12 student at Gordon Bell High School, one of the main attractions to starting classes in Winnipeg is that there's no gunfire.

"Yeah, I'm very nervous," 17-year-old Kwonka Bomera said. But, "We're here in Canada right now whereby you can sit and sleep. No gunshots. People have peace. They have their freedom."

Bomera's family fled war-torn Congo in 2005, when he was just nine years old. They spent years in Uganda, then he and his four siblings, who range in age from 11 to 23, arrived in Winnipeg in June.

The siblings haven't seen their parents in a decade.

Bomera said the Red Cross is still trying to find them. "No, no parents. Just us," he said. His older brother is the family's guardian.

Monique Burke of the N.E.E.D.S Centre, (Newcomers Employment and Education Development Services), an agency that provides support for immigrant and refugee children, said Bomera is able to start school right away, but there are many others who benefit from support.

"We just try to help students develop the essential skills, language and other skills, before they enter the public school system," she said.

Burke said 45 children just went through their program to get ready for school in Winnipeg.

Bomera said he's getting used to the peace and quiet as well as life without war.

"When I came, I found people okay. They are not discriminating against others," he said.

He hopes to return home one day, but for now he says he's just happy to be in Winnipeg.