HSAA’s refugee family finding their new feet in new home

It’s been eight months since the family of Syrian refugees sponsored by HSAA arrived in Calgary. From the depths of winter, through summer to Labour day, how has the family fared?

Ayed Saad, member of HSAA’s Social Justice committee and the chair of the refugee sponsorship ad hoc committee that worked on bringing the family to Alberta, provides this update.

Health: The oldest son, now aged six, had an infected tooth when the family arrived in Calgary and has been getting dental treatment. He had an appointment at Calgary’s Alberta Children’s Hospital to evaluate what has been done so far. More work needs to be done, but the good news is he has been approved for major dental treatment on Sept. 5. Meanwhile, Ayed has secured the services of a volunteer who will meet with the family and a social worker at the family home to help with continuing assessment by the Child Development Centre at the Children’s Hospital.

Education: The mother will begin English level six classes at Calgary’s Columbia College in September. The father has been taking English-language training two hours per day, but is now being registered as a full-time English as a Second Language (ESL) student at level three.

Employment: Ayed has helped the father create a resumé and cover letter and has been helping him learn how to look for jobs, including  arranging for three hours of training at Calgary’s Centre for Newcomers. They have already visited three hiring companies, one of which was interested in hiring the father despite the language barrier.

Community: The mother is doing five hours per week of volunteer work with the Calgary Public Library system.

Fun: Social Justice committee chair Faika Satterthwaite had the refugee family and Ayed’s family to their home for an amazing dinner. Ayed took the family to Banff and Lake Louise one recent Sunday.

Photo (above): The family pictured in Kananaskis with Ayed Saad and Faika Satterthwaite earlier this year.