‘We’re all in this together’
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.”