Sudbury·UP NORTH

Sudbury welcomes its fourth Syrian refugee family to the city

Sudbury's newest refugee family has arrived to begin their life as Canadian citizens. The Alsaeed family was greeted at the Sudbury airport this morning by members of Northern Hope. The sponsorship group will be responsible for the family's needs over the next year. Through an Arabic translator, Mohammed Alsaeed says he feels optimistic about the future of his family and their safety in Canada.
The Alsaeed family from Syria, pose for a picture with Sudbury M-P Paul Lefebvre and Chair of Northern Hope Kim McNab. The family arrived at the Sudbury airport Wednesday morning. (Angela Gemmill/CBC)

The Alsaeed family from Syria was greeted with applause and welcome signs written in Arabic, as the arrived at the Sudbury airport Wednesday morning.

The family of seven is Sudbury's newest refugee family. They will be sponsored over the next year by the evangelical group, Northern Hope.

Mohamed and Yusra and their five children left Syria when the war started there. They fled to Lebanon and have been living in Turkey for the last three years.

Through an Arabic translator, Mohamad Alsaeed says he feels optimistic about the future of his family and their safety in Canada.

Mohamed Alsaeed (left) speaks with Sudbury media through Arabic translator Kameal Mina. Alsaeed says he personally chose Canada for his family because Canada respects and protects human rights. (Angela Gemmill/CBC)

"He has big hopes because of the help of volunteers here...and also the help of the Canadian government. It was his personal choice to come to Canada because Canada protects and respects human rights."

Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre was on hand to greet the newcomers. He says it's important to show these refugee families the hospitality and warmth from the Sudbury community.

He says he understands the appeal of immigrating to Canada. "We are an open country. We're a very tolerant country. We respect people for who they are and it doesn't matter what they believe in, who they believe in. We just respect people."

Dozens of people showed up at the Sudbury airport to welcome the community's newest refugee family. The group called Northern Hope welcomed the Alsaeed family, and reporters spoke with family father Mohomad Alsaeed through a translator. 5:12

Northern Hope began the process to bring a refugee family to Sudbury back in January.

The group will now work to get the family settled, including getting the children in school and finding employment for the parents.

The family will live in a townhouse overlooking Ramsey Lake.

Andrew Gratto and Melissa Deugo of Northern Hope made signs in Arabic to welcome to Alsaeed family to Canada and their new home in Sudbury, Ontario. The signs say "Welcome Alsaeed family to the city of Greater Sudbury" (Angela Gemmill/CBC)

Chair Kim McNab says she is excited for the new beginnings for this family.

"We're going to try to get them used to our culture and life in Sudbury, getting the kids in school, getting them to learn the English language. Showing them around the city...Just welcoming them into the city and making some community connections."

She says members of Northern Hope will try to aspire to be empathetic and patient as they help the family settle.

"Be mindful of where this family has come from, what their experiences are, to think about the context of what they're coming from and what they're coming to. Try to put yourself in their shoes," McNab says.

"It will take a community to help this family integrate into our society...We're here for the long haul and we're here for them in whatever way they need."

With files from Angela Gemmill

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