A young refugee bears the weight of her family’s future and their new life in Canada.
It has been 746 days since Sedra has seen her six siblings. At 17, she carries the weight of her family’s future on her shoulders.
As refugees from the war in Syria, Sedra and her ailing parents have resettled in Saint John, New Brunswick. There, she grapples with the sense of responsibility she feels for her family as they struggle to rebuild their lives. As the only family member who can speak English and the only one without life-altering health issues, she has become the reluctant head of the household and her family’s best hope for a future in Canada.
Sedra was just 11 when her father Mohamed, who was wanted by militants, quickly packed up his family and left Syria for Egypt. Within four years, however, their family was destitute and Mohamed was no longer able to secure the safety of his loved ones.
In 2016, Mohamed was given the opportunity for a new beginning — he and his PTSD-diagnosed wife, his mother with Alzheimer’s and his then 15-year-old daughter Sedra would become refugees in Canada. With the promise that his adult children would soon follow, they made their way to Canada, hoping for a fresh start.
Two years after their arrival in Saint John, New Brunswick, the family is in severe debt. Sedra’s father is struggling to make ends meet, but his health is poor — he’s already undergone three surgeries and is unable to work. Meanwhile, his ailing mother needs full-time attention, his wife is bedridden and his adult children have lost hope in being reunited. Sedra’s education is all that matters to him now. He wants her to have a better life, but he feels like he’s failed her.
Despite these circumstances, the love between father and daughter is stronger than ever. To Sedra, her father is her hero. He is still the one person whose opinion she values most, whose advice she seeks, and whose support she desperately needs. He tries to give her emotional support and she tries to provide him physical support as they maneuver through their challenges in their new home.
When her father is rushed to the hospital, Sedra realizes how alone she really is. With no siblings to lean on and her only support now in a life-threatening condition, it is up to Sedra to accept her role as head of the household and bear the weight of her family’s future.
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Special Thanks To
Sedra and her family
Saint John High School
A Sura Mallouh Production
Produced in Association with CBC
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