Syrian refugees get settled in Saskatoon
A second group will be arriving in Saskatoon and Regina tonight
Saskatchewan's first wave of Syrian refugees has already started to get settled, with another group expected to arrive in both Regina and Saskatoon tonight.
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"They seemed very tired but they were also excited," said Ali Abukar, executive director of the Saskatoon Open Door Society, of the first group's arrival. "They were happy to see so many people at the airport to welcome them and people holding signs."
But for now, the organization is housing the new families in temporary apartments while completing a to-do list to help them get settled.
"In the next few days, we will find permanent accommodations for them, we'll do an orientation for them, we'll sign documents with the government and also, we'll do language assessment with them so then we can place [them] into English language classes," said Abukar.
This will also include learning basic life skills such as setting up bank accounts, helping with grocery shopping, and finding programs that will help them integrate smoothly.
We need to make sure that this settlement just works so very well, most importantly for refugees, but also for communities.- Premier Brad Wall
"If they have any medical issues that need to be addressed, we'll help them address finding a doctor and having medical check-ups," said Abukar.
"The ones who are on medication or having some issues already — we'll make sure that we'll have their medical needs met," he added.
Akubar said the families speak little to no English so any little bit of information and assistance is needed.
"It's going to take a couple of days to get used to the weather, get used to the time difference, and get used to all of that new stuff that they are dealing with," said Abukar.
Brad Wall happy with extended timeline
"This province has benefited so mightily, so greatly from the Muslim people who have come to our province, to our country and to the province of Saskatchewan," said Premier Brad Wall.
"We encouraged the Prime Minister to not be driven by a deadline and we're grateful that they changed their policy," said Wall.
"We need to make this successful. We need to make sure that this settlement just works so very well, most importantly for refugees, but also for communities."