Open Door Society says Syrian refugees settling well in Regina

Many of Regina's new Syrian refugees are beginning to feel at home in the Queen City.

Regina has welcomed more than 400 Syrian refugees since December

A group of Regina residents gathered at the airport on Dec. 21 to welcome Syrian refugees to the city. (Brian Rodgers/CBC)

Many of Regina's new Syrian refugees are beginning to feel at home in the Queen City. 

The amount of time it takes refugees to feel at home in a new country depends on how quickly they feel welcomed in their new communities, according to Getachew Woldeyesus from the Regina Open Door Society.

 "When the Syrian refugees first came, they stayed in hotels and formed bonds there," said Woldeyesus, who joined CBC Saskatchewan's Morning Edition to discuss how well the new Syrian population has settled in Regina. 

These initial interactions formed into friendships and continued when the families moved into their permanent homes. 

Volunteers have also been spending a lot of time visiting with refugees and helping them get familiar with the city.  

Woldeyesus said that many newcomers felt welcomed within their first few hours in the city when residents of Regina met them at the airport with signs in English and in Arabic. 

Building a life in Regina 

Agencies in the city have also helped in ensuring that newcomers are able to begin building a new life for themselves and their families. 

"The Chamber of Commerce has been very instrumental in helping us making connections with employers," he said. "So many employers came forward to let us know they had positions available."

There have already been 80 available jobs that are have been identified. 

The Regina Open Door Society said that they began preparing for the influx of refugees, and that has helped them keep up with the demand. 

"We had done a lot of homework before this project started. A lot of landlords offered to help us rent a place," said Woldeyesus.

They had about 300 houses picked out before arrivals began. They were also able to hire more staff members who spoke Arabic, to assist in bridging the language gap. 

Approximately 400 Syrian refugees settled in Regina between December and February, according to Woldeyesus. 

The Regina Open Door Society is expecting more arrivals in the upcoming months.