‘We’re all in this to­gether’

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Turk­ish beach in Septem­ber felt all too fa­mil­iar to her.

“For me the pic­ture, un­for­tu­nately, wasn’t any­thing new,” she said.

“For me, it’s like where were you all? This has been hap­pen­ing for years and years.”

That said, Metlege Diab was pleased with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s vow to bring 25,000 Syr­ian refugees to Canada. She es­ti­mates that Nova Sco­tia is home to about 1,000 new refugees so far in 2016, and it is an­tic­i­pated many more will be ar­riv­ing be­fore the year is through.

“The nor­mal num­ber of refugees that would come to Nova Sco­tia on an an­nual ba­sis for the last 10, 15 years would have been up to 200 refugees.”

More than 130 pri­vate and gov­ern­ment- as­sisted refugee spon­sor­ship groups were formed in Nova Sco­tia alone by De­cem­ber 2015, she said.

She urged all in at­ten­dance to con­tinue to show com­pas­sion as the new­com­ers set­tle in as res­i­dents of Nova Sco­tia, a place she says peo­ple are for­tu­nate to have the qual­ity of life many refugees could only ever dream of.

“The more we un­der­stand that the more we can help other peo­ple. And, in turn, they’re go­ing to help us be­cause we’re all in this to­gether,” she said.

Rachel McNally, vice chair of the Cen­tre­ville Alder­shot Refugee Spon­sor­ship com­mit­tee, has first­hand ex­pe­ri­ence help­ing a So­mali fam­ily of eight adapt to their new home in Kentville.

“Learn­ing English is the big thing that we’re work­ing on right now,” she said, adding that the ESL con­fer­ence helped her un­der­stand some of the chal­lenges the fam­ily is fac­ing as refugees from a for­eign coun­try.

“They are catch­ing on very quickly.”

She’s im­pressed with the progress the fam­ily is mak­ing in learn­ing how to use the tech­nol­ogy in their home, adapt­ing to their new en­vi­ron­ment out­side of the house and com­mu­ni­cat­ing with ges­tures and what lit­tle English they know.

“They’re such lovely peo­ple and it’s re­ally cool to be able to see them get it, and un­der­stand, and catch on to words.”

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