Yukon College students, staff raise $20K for Syrian refugee

Tareef Jaamour, 24, has lived his entire life as a refugee, first spending 20 years in Jordan. But when Syrians were no longer welcome in that country, Jaamour had to look elsewhere. Now, he has $20,000 to help pay for his first year at college in Canada.

'I do not feel like a second-class citizen in Canada,' says 24-year-old Tareef Jaamour

'Everyone is very friendly. It already feels like more of a home than Jordan,' said Tareef Jaamour, who's lived his whole life as a refugee. (Mardy Derby/CBC)

After living his entire life as a refugee, a 24-year-old from Syria says he has high hopes for his future because of the kindness of students and staff at a college in Whitehorse.

Yukon College students and staff raised $20,000 in cash and in-kind donations to help support Tareef Jaamour's first year in Canada.

They want him to have fewer worries, because life for Jaamour hasn't always been that way. 

Jaamour's father was forced to flee Syria in the 1980s and after a brief stay in Dubai, moved his family to Jordan where they lived peacefully for 20 years.

But things changed when the Syrian civil war began in 2011.

"Syrians are no longer welcome in Jordan," said Jaamour.  "It does not matter that I have lived there all my life. 

"Businesses can no longer hire Syrians. The justice system does not protect Syrians if the accusation is made by a Jordanian," he added.

So Jaamour looked elsewhere. 

'Already feels like... home'

Last year, he applied to the World University Service Canada refugee program, which provides young refugees resources and access to post-secondary education at Canadian universities and colleges.

Jaamour has a degree in civil engineering from the University of Jordan, but was unable to find work in Jordan after graduation.

Now, Jaamour plans to study business administration at Yukon College.

"I do not feel like a second-class citizen in Canada," Jaamour said.

"Everyone is very friendly. It already feels like more of a home than Jordan."

with files from Mardy Derby